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Heirs Under Law

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I had been living with my elderly uncle for a couple of years. I am a medical student studying near his home. He was a widower and had one child , a son, who lives far away and took little interest in him. I helped look after my uncle, and benefited by the arrangement as I did not have to rent accommodation. He has died recently. He did not make a will. His son, who told me he has inherited the property, told me to vacate it, as he wants to sell it or rent it out. I want to remain living in the apartment until I finish my medical studies. Do I have a right to do so ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
No. Firstly, the son, as the only child of a widower, would be the sole heir to the apartment if his late father did not make a valid will. Secondly, Under the terms of the Inheritance Law of 1965 only a spouse, child or parent of the deceased who has been living with him in the family home has a right to remain there as a tenant of the heir/s to the property. Unlike these first-degree relatives, a nephew has no automatic right, but the possibility of renting out the property from the son at the market rate should be investigated.

I am unmarried, and in my late 30’s. I had been looking after my mother, who is elderly and in poor health, for many years, living with her in her apartment. I have two brothers, who did not live with us. I understand that the apartment passes on to us in equal shares. The problem is that my brothers want to sell the apartment, and divide up the proceeds of the sale between us, and I don’t. I have nowhere else to live, and would not be able to afford to rent or buy somewhere, even if I got my share of the proceeds, as the apartment is small and not worth much. Do I have a right to remain living there ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law

Yes, according to the Inheritance Law of 1965 a child of a deceased who had been living with his or her parent in the latter’s home has a right to remain there as a tenant of the heirs to the property after the parent’s death . If the brothers cannot come to an agreement about the sister renting the property, she can ask the family court to adjudicate on the matter, and set out the terms of tenancy.

Do family members who had been living with the deceased in his home have a right to remain in the property if someone else inherits it, and not them ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law

Yes, if they are the deceased’s spouse, child or parent , they have a right to remain in the property as tenants of the new owners who inherited the property, according to the Inheritance Law of 1965.

My father died recently leaving the family farm to his two children, my sister and I, in equal parts. I have lived on the farm since childhood and raised my children there. I grow flowers for export and vegetables for the home market. I support my wife and children from this. My sister lives in the city. I want to continue living and working on the moshav. My sister wants to sell the farm and divide the proceeds of the sale. How can I protect my interests ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
The surviving son should register his “right of first refusal” at the Israel Lands Authority from which farms are rented on long leases in Israel. This right is granted under the Land Law to each heir to a farm. It gives each the first refusal/right to buy their sibling’s share of the farm. This right must be registered within two years of probate but it is best to register it immediately. The procedure for registering the right is set out in the Land Law.
The Inheritance Law gives preference to an heir who is willing and able to work the farm where division of the unit would harm its functioning. This holds where the heir who wishes to stay supports himself and his family from working the land. The law provides a mechanism for compensating the heir who does not wish to work the land.
Having said this, however, there has been a growing trend to “parcelize” land now; as this is legal many farm units can be divided up without harming them functioning as an economic, agricultural unit.This should be investigated by the brother as an alternative to buying his sister’s share of the farm.

My mother died recently, without making a will. My parents owned a car. My father, who is in his late seventies, has already given up driving and wants to sell the car my mother used to drive and invest the proceeds . No one has yet applied for an order to distribute my mother’s estate. I am in financial trouble and want to get anything due to me from the sale. Do my brother and I (the only children) inherit any rights in the car ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
When a married person dies intestate (without making a will) the car owned by the couple becomes the sole property of their spouse upon their death, according to the Inheritance Law. The children have no right to the car upon a parent’s death or to the proceeds of its sale.


What kind of evidence is acceptable to show that no other potential heirs to an estate can be found ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
Documentary evidence such as death certificates , results of searches in relevant Jewish and civil records in Israel and overseas, plus affidavits , but also publication of appropriate notices in the media both in Israel and abroad has its place, too.

My parents are both dead. My great uncle died recently without ever marrying or having children as far as I know. All his brothers and sisters perished in the Holocaust. Am I entitled to inherit anything and how do I go about it ? I am an only child.

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
If someone’s great uncle never married nor had children and died then, theoretically, the great niece or nephew is entitled to inherit something when he dies if no will is left. If the deceased did make a will, then the estate will be distributed according the instructions, if it is upheld.
Supposing no will is made, the intended heir will have to prove that the deceased never married or had children and that he/she is the only great nephew or neice. He/she would be entitled to inherit as sole heir under the Inheritance Act if successful in proving this.

If a Druze man dies without making his will can his ‘wife’ claim part of his inheritance if he has recently divorced her orally according to Druze religious law – but the divorce has not yet been registered at a Druze court ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
No. Questions of marriage and divorce between Druze are under the exclusive jurisdiction of Druze religious courts. Under Druze religious law if a husband makes an oral declaration divorcing his wife in the presence of two witnesses as required , then the divorce becomes effective immediately. It does not matter that it has not yet been registered at the Druze religious court.
Accordingly, if a Druze man dies intestate having divorced his wife orally before two witnesses without it being registered at the Druze religious court she has no right to claim as his spouse under the Inheritance Act of 1965.

left my wife several years ago, to live with another woman. My wife refuses to co-operate over divorce. We have grown up children . I have not made a will. What would happen to my estate if I died ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
As long as a man who has left home to cohabit with another woman remains legally married to his wife , and has not made a will, she, and not the woman he lives with, will inherit his property, according to the terms of the 1965 Inheritance Law . His children will also be his heirs, again according to the terms of the 1965 Inheritance Law. This legislation contains a condition concerning the eligibility of a cohabitee to have rights to a deceased cohabitee’s estate as a common-law spouse -neither of them can be married to anyone else at the time the deceased passes away. In the above case, the man is married which would prevent his cohabitee from inheriting as his common-law wife if he died.

Does the law entitle a step-son or step-daughter to inherit from a step-parent ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Law
No ! While an adopted child is entitled to inherit from an adoptive parent, a step-child is not, according to the 1965 Inheritance Act. A step-child is not included in the list of family members entitled to inherit when a person dies without living a will.
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