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Heirs Under Will / Probate

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If a beneficiary under a will claims that there is a technical mistake in a sum bequeathed to him /her in a will , and an application has already been made for probate, what must he/she do to get the amount he/she thinks is due ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate
A beneficiary who claims there is a mistake in the sum bequeathed in a will should object to probate, but to succeed in getting the sum due rectified, he/she must prove that the testator really intended to leave him/her what he/she claims. The Inheritance Act of 1965 does provide a mechanism for correcting mistakes in wills but only where the true intentions of the testator can be proved.

When a court grants probate can it cancel certain instructions in the will and grant probate for only some of the instructions ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate


Can a court considering an application for probate of a will turn the clock back and re-consider the merits of an previously order granted to distribute the deceased’s estate according to law, but which was cancelled by consent ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate
No ! some years ago the Supreme Court accepted an appeal against a decision by Tel Aviv District Court reinstating an order to divide the deceased’s estate by law even though it had been cancelled by consent. It severely criticized the District Court ,which also threw out the application for probate of a will found later, for misapplying the law.
The Supreme Court held that once an order to distribute an estate is cancelled by agreement, the court must look forwards, and concentrate on the application for probate and objection to it. It must not look backwards and re-adjudicate on the cancellation of the order, as it had done so, misapplying the law.

Can the lawyer representing someone applying for probate of a will written abroad provide an expert opinion on foreign law regarding the deceased’s property in Israel ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate

No, according to the 1996 Bar Association’s Rules of Ethics because of the risk of a conflict of interest if he is required to testify in court about the opinion.

How strict are courts in Israel about accepting granting probates for oral wills?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate

Extremely strict. Israeli courts interpret the provisions regarding the making and validity of oral wills in the Inheritance Act of 1965 very strictly, obeying Supreme Court instructions, due to the potential for financial exploitation .

Can probate still be granted for an oral will if the procedures for making and depositing it are not strictly kept ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate
Yes. The Inheritance Law of 1965 does lay down strict procedures for the recording of an oral will of someone facing death by two witnesses in a memo and for its deposit with the Inheritance Registrar, both of which should be carried out as soon as possible.
However, the legislation also states that the court can uphold an oral will even if there are faults in the process laid down, if it has no doubts about its genuineness.

My aunt died, leaving me some of her property in Israel, according to a will she made in English, abroad before she made ‘aliyah’. In it she appoints some relatives whom she gives very wide powers in relation to the distribution of her property. I want to apply for probate in Israel , but don’t know whether to make a translation.

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate
Although the amended Inheritance Regulations of 1988 put English in a privileged position, and do not require the Inheritance Registrar or the court to automatically ask for a translation of a will drafted in English in every case, where the will is drafted abroad it could contain legal mechanisms which may be contrary to Israeli law, and therefore an authorized Hebrew translation will probably be required.

Does a will in English have to be translated into Hebrew before probate can be granted ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate

Not in theory according to the Inheritance Regulations – but in practice someone requesting probate on the basis of a will written in English may be asked to provide a translation in Hebrew.

f a native English speaker chooses to get a will drawn up in English in Israel, will he, or his surviving relatives, have to go to the expense of getting a Hebrew translation for probate purposes ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate

Not as a rule, but only as an exception, and the discretion to order a translation must be reasonably exercised. The amended Inheritance Regulations of 1998 give English an advantage over other languages; no translation into Hebrew or Arabic of a will drafted in English is required, although the registrar or court dealing with an application for probate has discretion to order such.

Can probate be granted if the original will is not produced ?

Inheritance Heirs Under Will / Probate
Yes, it is possible, as an exception, though in principle the original should be produced. The Inheritance Law states that a will – except for a ‘death-bed ‘ one – should be proved by production of the original. However, as an exception this legislation states that it is possible to prove its existence by a copy of the will or secondary evidence in certain circumstances. These are where it is proved that the original (a) has been lost and reasonable attempts to find it have failed or (b) has been destroyed but was not cancelled or (c) is located overseas and bringing it involves great difficulty or is impossible.
Only after the court accepts that the original cannot be produced as explained above, may secondary evidence be submitted in support of its existence. The court will then discuss its weight. If it is satisfied by it, it can grant probate.
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