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Inheritance Considerations in a Post-Pandemic Era

As Israel is emerging into post-pandemic life thanks to the vaccination, it is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted many of our habits and way of life. Given the still existing struggle to cope with the pandemic, it is not so simple to jump on a plane to visit friends abroad or go on vacation with the family. The implications are applicable as well to individuals holding assets in Israel and abroad. It is quite difficult to adequately supervise one's assets abroad, not to mention that the banks and financial institutions are constantly tightening their regulations and policies, thus constraining the ability to liquidate assets abroad and to transfer the funds to Israel.

These implications should be widely considered also in the context of estate planning and inheritance. It is becoming more and more difficult and costly for heirs to distribute assets which are situated abroad, especially during the pandemic. In many institutions there is a requirement to appear before the institution to sign documents personally. There are various measures that could be implemented in order to minimize aggravation of beneficiaries upon execution of a will, such as transferring assets to Israel, bestowing the assets to the prospected heirs while still alive, establishing a trust to hold the assets, stipulating the heirs as beneficiaries in institutions, distributing specific assets to beneficiaries based on where they reside, and more. In addition, the tax and legal implications of any such measure should be thoroughly evaluated and planned in advance.

Another aspect to take into consideration is the wording of one's will. Recently, I handled a case for a client whose permanent residence is in Israel and whose husband passed away during the pandemic. The couple owned bank accounts in Israel and in the United States. The husband had prepared two wills before coming on aliyah: one will for the assets in the US ("US Will") and another will for the assets in Israel. The wife submitted a petition to probate both Wills in Israel. The Israeli courts only agreed to probate the Israeli Will. The Israeli court would not issue a probate order for the US Will. Consequently, the US Will needs to be probated in the US which is a much more costly and time-consuming process. Had the couple properly planned their Estate all of this hassle could have been avoided and the probate of the Israeli Will would have been sufficient. Proper planning would have entailed a much simpler and cost-efficient process.

Please note: The information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or financial advice. You should consult with a certified lawyer before making any decisions in respect of the subject matters contained herein. No reproduction, transmission, publication or any other form of dissemination shall be permitted unless the prior written consent of Rinot– Elhyani, Law Offices has been obtained

About Rinot – Elhyani Law Offices

Founded in 1989, Rinot - Elhyani Law Offices is based in Raanana, Israel. The firm provides a wide range of services, primarily in the areas of real estate, inheritance, enduring power of attorney and estate planning, with special emphasis on representing foreign individuals and olim.



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Sunday, 21 April 2024

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