California and Israel Estate Planning and Probate

By Marshal A. Oldman, Esq. and Dganit Toren, Esq.

This co- written article was published in the California Trusts and Estates Quarterly, an Official Publication of the State Bar of California. The article, which was addressed mainly to CA attorneys, examines differences between California and Israel procedures to transfer assets after death.

1. Introduction

 

Decedents may own property in California and outside the United States. In such situations, the heirs or beneficiaries may be forced to initiate probate procedures both in California and in the foreign nation. In order to distribute assets in different jurisdictions, it is usually necessary to consult with a qualified local attorney and learn the relevant local rules governing administration of estate assets.

 

One country that decedents may own assets in is Israel. As discussed below, there are major distinctions between the probate law in California and the law in Israel. A complete analysis of those differences is beyond the scope of this article. Instead, this article strives to provide information regarding the estate planning and post-death administration process in Israel, while highlighting some major distinctions to the procedures in California.

 

Part I of this Article will discuss common estate planning documents. Part II will summarize and compare the process in California and Israel necessary to transfer assets upon a decedent’s death. Part III provides scenarios to explore the differences and address issues that may arise in situations where an individual owns assets both in Israel and California.

 

I.          ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS

 

Planning for and structuring documents to transfer decedent’s assets is a complicated process. This process involves confirmation of the current ownership and title, any restrictions on transfer or disposition, and determining the decedent’s intentions as to disposition of the assets. In California and in Israel, a common method for a decedent to effectuate his or her intent is to use a will. As explained in Part II below, unlike California, in Israel using a trust to transfer assets at death appears to be infrequent and holds no distinct advantage.

 

A.        Wills

 

1.         California

 

California provides for two types of wills: a witnessed will and a holographic or handwritten will.[i] A witnessed will is signed by the testator, and witnessed by two witnesses.[ii] A holographic will is in the writing of the testator and signed by the testator.[iii]

 

            2.         Israel

 

The Israeli rules relating to the form and validation of wills contain similarities to Californian law. Israel approves four forms of making a will: handwritten, witnessed, at an authority, or an oral will.[iv] The most common form is the witnessed will (attested will) and it must be signed by two witnesses who confirm the testator’s signature and declare that the document is the testator’s will.[v] 

 

A handwritten will must be written all in the testator’s handwriting, dated, and signed by the testator.[vi] In “special circumstances”, when the court has no doubt that the will is true and that the testator intended for it to be his will, the court may validate a handwritten will with some “flaws”, such as absence of a date or signature.[vii]

 

Therefore, it is possible to draft a will in California that would be valid in Israel. Nevertheless, it might be simpler to draft two separate wills – one for assets in California and the other for assets in Israel. For instance, if there is only one asset in Israel, it might be easier for the authorities in Israel to analyze a short will that specifically relates to that single asset.[viii]  

 

There are two types of Israeli wills that have no exact counterparts in California: a will in the authority and an oral will.  An individual in Israel desiring to make a will in the authority would approach the appropriate authority[ix] and either submit a written will or orally dictate the will to that authority. The testator himself must be present and his words will be transcribed by the licensed individual. The will is read to the testator (or by the testator to the authority), who declares that the transcribed document is his will. The licensed individual would then confirm that the will was read to the testator and was declared by the testator to be his or her will.[x]

 

A will made in the authority serves as alleged proof that the deceased made the will and that it was made by the testator in the date and place stipulated in it. This form of will may be advised in cases where the testator disinherits someone and/or when he knows that someone may wish to challenge the will.

 

An oral will may be valid if the following seven conditions are proven:

 

  1. The decedent was a “deathly ill” person while making the will;[xi]
  2. The decedent made the will in the presence of two witnesses;
  3. The decedent had a specific intention to make a will under the circumstances (the intent is an important condition to be evaluated by the court);
  4. Both witnesses heard the decedent’s words;
  5. The witnesses wrote a document confirming that information (as soon as they could);
  6. The witnesses signed that instrument; and
  7. The instrument was submitted to the appropriate governmental authority.

 

For these purposes, “making the will” does not mean a writing, but rather a statement of intent to dispose of property upon death. An oral will is invalid within one month after the circumstances to its making are gone and the testator is still alive.[xii]

 

An example might be a person is involved in a car accident. While emergency caregivers are around him, he realized his situation may be fatal and that he has no will. He then declares: “I want all my property to be given to my mother alone and to no other.” This statement may be then written by two of the caregivers, declared, signed and submitted to the appropriate government authority. If later on he survives, is alive and able to execute a written will, this oral will is null and void.[xiii]

 

3.                  Effect

 

California provides that a will may be used as a basis to obtain property if a probate is not required. For example, if a decedent died in California owning assets worth no more than $150,000, a will valid on its face may be used by a successor in interest as the basis to claim the decedent’s assets under Probate Code section 13100.[xiv] Other Probate Code provisions allow a successor of a decedent to obtain real property of small value[xv] or for a surviving spouse to obtain assets by a spousal property provision.[xvi]

 

In contrast, Israel provides that a will in itself does not grant any rights and cannot be used as a will, unless a court order has declared it to be valid.[xvii] There are no affidavit or spousal property provisions under Israel law to allow transfer of a decedent’s property.

 

As in California, if an Israeli court determines that part of the will is void, its other parts may be deemed valid.[xviii] In the alternative, the court may determine the whole will invalid.

 

Similar to California, an Israeli court will not give effect to an illegal, immoral, or impossible provision in a will.[xix] If an illegal, immoral or impossible provision is a condition to a bequest under a will, the provision is void, although the entitlement may remain valid.[xx]

 

California law contains provisions invalidating gifts to drafting parties.[xxi] Israel law also invalidates a provision in a will making a gift to a person who prepared the will, was a witness to the will or someone who took part in its preparation (or the spouse of any of those).[xxii]  

 

4.                  No Contest Clauses

 

California recognizes the validity of no contest clauses, subject to various limitations.[xxiii] In Israel, a no contest clause may violate public policy.[xxiv] Courts in Israel have ruled that a "no contest" clause is not effective when the beneficiary had a bona fide legal claim.[xxv] 

 

B.        Trusts

 

The use of revocable trusts in estate planning is not as common in Israel as it is in California.[xxvi] One of the reasons may be related to publicity. A trust in Israel must be reported to the authorities, while a California trust may not be disclosed to the government.[xxvii] Another major reason appears to be that under Israel law a trust does not avoid court involvement as the trustee or beneficiaries must still get an order for the property to be transferred and distributed.[xxviii]

 

If the decedent’s will is a pour-over will directing disposition into a trust, all those documents must be submitted to the authorities in Israel. Israeli courts will recognize the disposition to the trustee.[xxix] Nonetheless, in most cases, the trust document contains many pages and sections that are irrelevant to the distribution of the Israel assets. Those documents must be translated to Hebrew and incur translation and other fees. These reasons support drafting one document to control the disposition of United States-situs assets and a separate will for assets located in Israel.

 

C.        Intestate Succession

 

1.         California

 

If a California decedent dies intestate, leaving a spouse and issue, parents, or issue of parents, the community and quasi-community property passes all to the spouse, and the decedent’s separate property passes either one-half or one-third to the spouse, depending on the number of issue of the decedent who survive the decedent.[xxx] There are special rules for property inherited from a predeceased spouse.[xxxi]

 

            2.         Israel

 

In general, when a decedent passes away leaving a spouse and children (or children’s offspring) or parents, the spouse is entitled to receive half of the estate and the children/parents as the case may be, receive half. Additionally, the spouse is entitled to all the chattels including the car, which “according to custom and circumstances”, belong to the common marital household.[xxxii] Children inherit first, and then only if there are no children or issue, the parents inherit.[xxxiii]

 

When the decedent was survived by a spouse and siblings (or their children) or grandparents but no children or parents, the spouse is entitled to the chattels and two-thirds of the remaining estate. However, if the spouse was married to the decedent for over three years and lived with the decedent in a residential property which is part of the estate, the spouse will receive all of the decedent’s rights in the residence in addition to two – thirds of the remainder of the estate. 

 

If a child passed away prior the decedent’s death, that deceased child’s children take the share. This rule does not apply to a spouse and parents (or grandparents).[xxxiv] The inheritance right of a spouse and of parents does not pass to their children.

 

II         PROBATE PROCESS

 

The differences between Israeli and California procedures create frequent misunderstandings. These differences may create misinformed expectations by client or unclear communications with attorneys unfamiliar with Israel law. Understanding some general aspects of the Israel probate process may clarify issues. Section A discusses jurisdiction issues that arise in cases with international aspects and sections B and C overview the process in Israel. 

 

A.        Jurisdiction

 

1.         California

 

The court in California may gain jurisdiction over the estates of decedent’s domiciled in California or over real property and tangible personal property assets of decedents domiciled in other jurisdictions. Venue is in the county where the decedent resided if California is the domiciliary state and in any county where assets exist if California is the ancillary jurisdiction.[xxxv] California is not bound by the finding of domicile in another state.[xxxvi] 

 

            2.         Israel

 

The Israeli court has jurisdiction over: inheritance matters of every person domiciled in Israel at the time of death or a person who left property in Israel. In cases where the decedent died domiciled outside of Israel and left property in Israel, the Israeli court will apply the succession laws of the domicile of the deceased at time of death based on a formal foreign legal opinion/ report stating the relevant local law.[xxxvii]

 

Israel recognizes three exceptions to the basic domicile rule. The first is where the law of the domiciliary country provides that its law does not apply, such as to real estate.[xxxviii] The second exception is that issues of the validity of the will are based on the law of the domicile at the time of execution. The third exception has to do with form of the will. Israel would validate a will if it were executed consistent with Israeli law, the law where it was written, the law of the decedent’s domicile at the time of signing the will or at the time of death, and in situations involving real estate, also by the laws of the state where the real estate is located.[xxxix]

 

This exception to the law of domicile is subject to three exceptions as well. Israel would ignore any direction in that foreign jurisdiction to apply a second foreign country’s law, unless that law is Israeli law.[xl] Israel would not apply a foreign law that discriminates by form of race, religion, gender or nationality or where it contradicts the Israeli “public policy”.[xli] The last exception is a foreign law that grants intestate succession rights to individuals who are not related to the deceased by blood, marriage or adoption, unless the foreign law recognizes succession rights as conferred by Israeli law.[xlii]

 

B.        The Process

 

1.         California

 

The probate process in California is initiated by a petition for probate that seeks probate of a will if one exists and/or for appointment of a personal representative.[xliii] Notice of the petition is published,[xliv] and the Attorney General receives notice in limited circumstances when a beneficiary is a charity.[xlv] After notice to and the processing of any creditor’s claims, the filing of an inventory valuing the assets as of the date of death, the calculation and payment of any estate taxes and income taxes that may be due, the estate may be in a position to close administration if the creditor’s claim period has expired.[xlvi] In a petition for final distribution, the personal representative will ask the court for an order distributing the remaining assets in the estate.[xlvii] If the estate in California is an ancillary estate, the petition may ask for distribution directly to the heirs and beneficiaries or to the personal representative of the domiciliary estate depending on the circumstances of the estate.[xlviii]

 

            2.         Israel

 

Israeli probate procedures are designed to generate an order, not to distribute estate assets unless an executor is nominated and the case is then managed as “executorship” or “estate management” case.[xlix] The result of the Israel procedure is a court order that either declares (1) valid the decedent’s will, dated and attached to the order; or (2) that the decedent died intestate and that the decedent’s heirs and their relative shares are as specified in the order.[l]

 

The post-death administration procedure begins with an application for an order. There are two types of applications: a “will order application” and a “succession/ inheritance order application”. Each application is accompanied by a series of documents, such as an original death certificate; original will, if applicable; and consent of all heirs or proof that notice was sent to the heirs. After the initial pleading, notice is published in a daily newspaper. An interested party has at least 14 days to object. If the decedent died testate, the application may address the nomination of the executor named in the Will, requiring a separate application for an executor. The court then supervises the executor’s actions. In intestate cases, an executor is nominated upon the applicant’s request. In addition, the court has discretion to nominate an executor.[li] If an heir dies prior to distribution, the estate would obtain a new order for that deceased heir. This requirement involves additional legal fees, lengthens the proceedings, and the heirs are required to supply evidence for the new heirs to get their shares.[lii] 

 

Unlike in California, a copy of every application is submitted to the Attorney General. Upon receiving the Attorney General’s positive response,[liii] and after the period for objections runs, an order may be granted. In many cases involving foreign decedents, the Attorney General requests the applicant to provide further documents.

 

An interested party also may request nomination of executor if, for instance, the heirs or beneficiaries cannot agree as to distributions. The request may be filed at any time, even after the order is granted.[liv] An executor has the legal capacity to perform all the actions required for distribution of the estate assets and court’s approval is required for most transactions.[lv] Upon completion of the executor’s work, and within thirty days of the distribution, the executor must submit an affidavit reporting the estate assets and value each individual received.[lvi]

 

C.        Concluding the Probate Process

 

1.         California

 

In California, a probate proceeding ends with the discharge of the personal representative.[lvii]  The discharge occurs after the personal representative has obtained an order for final distribution and has made the ordered distributions. The personal representative often distributes cash and marketable securities without the bank or other holder of estate assets requesting or receiving a copy of the order.

 

            2.         Israel

 

Inheritance proceedings in Israel result in an order declaring the will is valid or the intestate heirs and their shares of the estate. After the court order, estate assets may be divided among the heirs upon mutual agreement or according to a court order.[lviii] Thus, the court process may end prior to any distribution occurring. The court is not involved with the estate’s distribution, unless an executor is nominated and approved.

 

Unlike in California, to claim or distribute assets in the estate, the order is presented to the bank and the bank would release the decedent’s funds. For real estate entitlement, a separate registration procedure is required in order to register the heirs’ names as owners. Those proceedings are not part of the order and may be performed by the heirs’ attorney (when no executor is nominated).  

 

An Israel court normally will not accept a nomination in a will of an executor who does not reside permanently in Israel.[lix] For example, a nominated personal representative residing in the United States generally will not be appointed. The Israeli court in such a situation has the authority to deviate from the will’s provisions regarding an executor if reasons justify this action.[lx]

 

III        PLANNING ISSUES

 

This section explores a few scenarios involving individuals who may have both California and Israel assets.

 

A. Intestate Succession Issues

 

Assume a married California decedent established a revocable trust that held assets in California and directed distribution upon the individual’s death to the issue of that individual’s child. In Israel, that individual holds title to a condominium that was acquired with community property. He is survived by a spouse, issue of a deceased child, and parents. The parties are unable to find a pour-over will to the trust. This lack of a will creates issue about whether the condominium should pass to the issue of the child or passes under intestate succession.

 

The beneficiaries may try filing the trust document as a will – if it is authenticated by two witnesses. They could argue claim that although the pour over will is missing, the trust is the best document from which the Israel court should deduce the decedent’s wish. The courts in Israel have wide discretion to interpret documents for the purpose of finding the decedent’s intent and to make necessary changes to reflect his wishes. The court may validate a will despite some flaws in its form, if the basic components exist, such as the will is written and signed by two witnesses.[lxi]

 

However, if the court decides not to validate the trust as reflecting decedent’s last will, the property in Israel will pass by intestate succession. Since the decedent was a California resident, California’s intestate succession law will control succession to the property.  Assuming California intestate succession applies, the next issue is whether the Israeli courts will apply California community property laws or treat the condominium as belonging all to the decedent. As discussed above, California law must be proved to the Israel court by a formal legal opinion. The court in Israel may adopt the final conclusion in that opinion.  The Israeli legislation allows for entitlement emanating from spousal relationship,[lxii] and most Israel courts would accept a foreign law that allocates community property assets to the surviving spouse.

 

B. Oral Will Situation

 

A second scenario involves choice of law issues. This situation involves an Israeli resident who died in Israel while owning a home in California that is her separate property. At the time of her death, her only will was an oral will duly registered in Israel and valid under Israeli law. That will directs disposition of her assets to her only child from a prior marriage. Title to the California residence is in the name of the Israeli resident. The decedent was survived by a spouse, parent, and issue of a deceased child. This issue is whether the Israeli oral will, found valid in Israel, may be admitted to probate in California.

 

The court in Israel gains jurisdiction over any case where the decedent died in Israel or left property in Israel. The beneficiaries and heirs may petition the Israel court for administration of the decedent’s estate. The Israel court would then issue an order giving effect to the valid oral will. If a will was admitted to probate, or established or proved according to the laws of a foreign nation, the court in California shall admit the will to probate and may not permit a contest, if certain conditions related to the foreign determination are met.[lxiii] Thus, the Israel court order could be effective to direct the disposition of the California home.

 

In the alternative, the heirs may file for probate in California rather than in Israel. In that situation, the court in California will also gain jurisdiction over the California assets, such as the California home. The court will examine the oral will according to the California law.[lxiv] Under Section 6113 of the Probate Code, a written will signed in conformity with the laws of the jurisdiction where and when it was signed or where the decedent was domiciled or died is admissible in California. The question is whether an oral will that is later written down and registered in Israel is considered “written”. Since there is neither a signature by the decedent nor at his direction, the will probably is not a valid will under Section 6113. It may be admissible under the Uniform International Wills Act,[lxv] provided that the document was signed before two witnesses and an individual licensed to practice in California or is a U.S. consular employee authorized to certify signatures and complete a required certificate.[lxvi]

 

Assuming that the decedent died intestate under California law, California would apply its intestate succession law to the succession of the California home. The decedent’s husband would thus receive at least one-half of the California home. Thus, by pursuing the action only in California, the decedent could be determined to have died intestate while by pursuing the action first in Israel, the decedent would be determined to have died testate. In the first situation, the spouse may acquire the California home while in the second situation the child may receive all the California home. It is vital to be aware of the differing results when advising clients both in the planning stage and in the post-death administration.

 

C.  California LLC

 

The first two scenarios involved basic estate planning documents, with an asset held in the decedent’s name. The third scenario involves a California resident who owns a California limited liability company that holds title to property and a business in Israel. The California resident also has a trust and a pourover will to the trust. As in the other scenarios, the decedent is survived by a spouse and a child.

 

The initial question is whether the limited liability company is personal property that is subject to probate in California, the place of domicile, even though the company holds title to property in Israel. Israel will generally recognize a duly registered limited liability company as the owner of real and personal property in Israel. Israel will also treat the ownership interest in the entity as intangible personal property with a situs of the decedent’s domicile. Hence, in this scenario, the Israel is likely to conclude that the decedent did not have title to the property in Israel at the time of death and nothing needs to be probated in Israel.[lxvii]  Since the entity is registered in the US, it is subject to US rules and regulations for transfer of ownership. No Israel court order is need to transfer the company interests.

 

This scenario shows that the complexity of at-death transfers of property in Israel may be avoided by use of a non-Israel entity to hold title to Israel assets. However, holding Israel assets in an entity to avoid the at-death court process raises two tax issues. One tax complication may arise if the LLC holds title to real property in Israel. Israel imposes real estate taxes on transfers and “actions” in corporations. Exemptions exist, such as one for inheritance transfers in residential properties.[lxviii] However, those exceptions are subject to numerous conditions, and may not be available in every case. The other tax issue is that the property in Israel held by a California entity may be an asset in the United States for purposes of estate tax.[lxix] Assuming that the decedent is a non- resident alien, the property may be subject to the estate tax with only a $60,000 exemption for property held by non-resident aliens from the estate tax.[lxx] This may require the filing of an estate tax return and payment of United States estate tax by the non-resident alien. 

 

IV        CONCLUSION

 

Planning and administering estates involving properties both in California and Israel are complex. Substantial differences exist between estate planning and succession of property in California as compared to Israel. California and Israel provide different types of wills, rules regarding trusts, and a differing probate processes. Planning may reduce some practical differences that affect the distribution of property held in either jurisdiction. This article only provides an overview of the issues. Each client should consult with experts versed in the laws of the applicable jurisdiction to determine relevant issues and weigh the options available.

 

* Oldman, Cooley, Sallus, Birnberg & Coleman, LLP, Encino, California

** Toren Law, Encino, California

 



[i] Cal. Prob. Code, sections 6110 and 6111.

[ii] Cal. Prob. Code, section 6110. However, even if not signed, if clear and convincing evidence exists that the decedent intended the document to be his or her will, the instrument may be a valid will. See id., section 6110(c)(2).

[iii] Cal. Prob. Code, section 6111.

[iv] Israeli Inheritance Law 1965, section 18. In Israel, the Israeli Inheritance Law 1965 (the Inheritance Law) and the Inheritance Regulations, 1998 are the main legislation governing the rights of successors and beneficiaries and the asset distribution of a decedent.

[v] The Inheritance Law, section 20.

[vi] The Inheritance Law, section 19.

[vii] The Inheritance Law, section 25(b). In one case the court validated a handwritten will which carried three different dates. The court mentioned that despite its deficiencies, there is no doubt as to the truthfulness of the will, and in this case it is probable that the deceased added a date each time he wanted to express his definite wish that there will be no change in his will. Mirahi v. Raz (1985) Civil Appeal 15/85.

[viii] Translating a Will written in English into Hebrew carries with it issues of translation as well as differing legal terminology and history. Simplicity often minimizes the risks that a mistranslation or differing understanding of terms may cause.

[ix] For these purposes, the licensed authority includes an Israeli court judge, a notary, or the Israel Inheritance Registrar.

[x] Such a will may be valid in California if signed in the testator’s name and in the testator’s presence. Cal. Prob. Code, section 6110(b)(2).

[xi] The first question to be evaluated by court is whether the testator was “deathly ill” or “in a deathbed”. There is a two- folded evaluation process: an objective element – that the decedent actually faced death; and a subjective element – that the decedent had a subjective feeling that he is going to die. Omar v. Cogut (1973) Civil Appeal 516/73.

[xii] The Inheritance Law, section 23(c).

[xiii] A declaration of intent to prepare a written will generally does not qualify as an oral will. Civil Appeal 86/88 Yaakobovitz v. The Attorney General.

[xiv] California Probate Code, sections 13100, et seq.

[xv] California Probate Code, sections 13200, et seq.

[xvi] California Probate Code, sections 13500, et seq.

[xvii] The Inheritance Law, section 39.

[xviii] The Inheritance Law, section 38 (b): void section or provision of the will do not void its other parts, unless the court determines those other parts are inherently related or that the testator would not wish those parts to exist absent the parts which were declared void.

[xix] The Inheritance Law, section 34.

[xx] The Inheritance Law, section 38 (a).

[xxi] Cal. Prob. Code, sections 21360, et seq.

[xxii] The Inheritance Law, section 35. An example of disinheriting heirs in Israel involves the estate of Yuli Ofer, Israel’s wealthiest businessman. See http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/14/world/middleeast/yuli-ofer-israeli-tycoon-is-dead-at-87.html. In his last will, Mr. Ofer made a significant change and left most of his assets to his daughter, while his son’s share in the estate was considerably reduced. The son challenged the last will. In disinheriting an heir, it appears advisable to detail the reason, so it will be apparent that the disinheritance (or change) is a calculated and deliberated act. This statement may also serve as a counterclaim to negate arguments of undue influence.

[xxiii] Cal. Prob. Code, sections 21310, et seq.

[xxiv] The Inheritance Law, Sections 34, 38.

[xxv] Civil Appeal 245/85 Angleman v. Klein; Civil Appeal 2698/92 Yona v. Edelman.

[xxvi] Although it is not as widely accepted as in the United States, trusts are recognized in Israel, albeit with some limitations. See Israel Contract Law, 1973; The Securities Law, 1968; and The Law of Trust, 1979 (the Law of Trust).

[xxvii] Israel Income Tax Code, section 75G(a), Amendment 147. A trust created by will is not considered a trust of Israeli residents, but may be taxed if at least one beneficiary is an Israeli resident. Israel Income Tax Code, section 75 L(c), Amendment 147.

[xxviii] However, Section 147 of the Inheritance Law dictates that proceeds payable upon death of a person according to an insurance agreement, pension or trust fund or a similar claim, are not considered part of the estate, unless it was stipulated to be in the estate. Interestingly, the Inheritance Law has no reference to trusts created by will or otherwise related to it. The only section which may have some relevance in this case is the one which states that “a corporation is qualified to inherit if, upon testator’s death, it was qualified to receive assets … .” The Inheritance Law, section 4.

[xxix] Civil Appeal 9/74 Inzel v. Koglemas.

[xxx] Cal. Prob. Code, section 6400.

[xxxi] Cal. Prob. Code, section 6402.5.

[xxxii] The Inheritance Law, section 11(a).

[xxxiii] The Inheritance Law, section 12.

[xxxiv] The Inheritance Law, section 14.

[xxxv] Cal. Probate Code, section 7501.

[xxxvi] Estate of Reynolds (1933) 217 Cal. 557; cf. Tholey v. Superior Court (1978) 78 Cal. App. 3rd 900 (court order determining domicile binding on persons subject to foreign court’s jurisdiction).

[xxxvii] In most situations, physical presence of the heirs is unnecessary unless there are “objections” to the probate process and court litigation is required.

[xxxviii] The Inheritance Law, section 138.

[xxxix] The Inheritance Law, section 140 (a).

[xl] The Inheritance Law, section 142.

[xli] The Inheritance Law, section 143.

[xlii] The Inheritance Law, section 144. Also, a foreign judgment directing distribution of assets is not binding in Israel Civil Appeal 970/93 The Attorney General v. Iris Agam; Also see: Civil Motion (Jerusalem) 492/98 Lawrence Lipsky v. Elizabeth Shwab.

[xliii] Cal. Prob. Code, sections 8000, et seq.

[xliv] Cal. Prob. Code, section 8100, et seq.

[xlv] Cal. Prob. Code, section 8111.

[xlvi] Cal. Prob. Code, Division 7.

[xlvii] Cal. Prob. Code, section 11600, et seq.

[xlviii] Cal. Prob. Code, section 12510, et seq.

[xlix] The Israel legal authority responsible for granting inheritance and will orders is the Inheritance Registrar. The Inheritance Law, Section 66. Nonetheless, when the decedent died outside of Israel or foreign law applies, the case is normally transferred from the Inheritance Registrar to the competent family court, and becomes a considerably longer procedure. A case also may be transferred to the family court for other reasons.

[l] The Inheritance Law, Section 69: content of will order and inheritance order.

[li] The Inheritance Law, Sections 77, 78.

[lii] See Nissman v. The Attorney General (1991) Civil Appeal 297/91 (Israel Supreme Court). The Nissman court explained that two kinds of evidence are required: the first, to prove the death of the heir; the second, to prove the heir’s heirs entitlement. However, a separate proceedings for inheritance order is required in order to allow opportunity for legal objections.

[liii] A positive response from the Attorney General is usually worded: “no reason to interfere with the procedures”.

[liv] The Inheritance Law, sections 77-134.

[lv] The Inheritance Law, section 97.

[lvi] The Inheritance Law, section 118.

[lvii] Cal. Prob. Code, section 12200, et seq.

[lviii] The Inheritance Law, section 110 (a).

[lix] In re: the estate of the Baroness Bat- Sheva De – Rotshield v. Bat –Dor Association, Tel – Aviv Estate Case 5650/99. 

[lx] The Inheritance Law, section 81.

[lxi] The Inheritance Law, section 25. This section is frequently mentioned in inheritance disputes and precedents.

[lxii] The Inheritance Law, section 11 (c).

[lxiii] Cal. Prob. Code, section 12523.

[lxiv] Cal. Civil Code, section 755.

[lxv] Cal Prob. Code, sections 6380, et seq.

[lxvi] Cal. Prob. Code, section 6184.   An explanation of why the testator did not sign the document will also need to be provided. 

[lxvii] Should the limited liability company be an Israel entity, an issue arises of whether the transfer of the LLC interests would be recognized by Israel. Because the units are either held by a trustee or are distributable to the trustee under the pourover will, the parties should be able to obtain a confirmation from the Israel government of the transfer of title to the trust beneficiaries, if such confirmation is deemed necessary.

[lxviii] The Israeli Real Estate Taxation Law (capital gains and purchasing tax), 1963, section 69, exempts transfers from trustee to beneficiary, section 62 exempts transaction without consideration from individuals to their family member; and section 49B(5) exempts some inherited residential property.

[lxix] Internal Revenue Code, section 2104(a) (stock in United States corporation is situated in the United States). If and when interests in a partnership, trust, or limited liability company have a United States situs for estate tax purposes is beyond the scope of this article.

[lxx] Internal Revenue Code, section 2102.

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