A power of attorney is a document that you sign, authorizing another person – often your Israeli lawyer to take legal action, on your behalf. There are 4 types of Israeli power of attorney forms:
Specific Power of Attorney
If you need an Israeli lawyer to handle an Israeli probate matter, set up an Israeli company or represent you in an Israeli Court, you’ll need to sign a specific power of attorney. Unlike US engagement letters, which may contain “authority to represent” language, under the Israeli law of agency and the Israeli Bar Association rules, an Israeli lawyer may not take any action on behalf of a client, without a properly authorized power of attorney. There is a “standard” form, widely used by all Israeli lawyers and it includes language empowering the lawyer to represent you in Court, before Israeli government offices, municipalities and more.
Irrevocable Power of Attorney
This is a power of attorney Israeli lawyers use for real estate transactions. The seller/s signs this type of power of attorney, empowering his/her lawyer to transfer the real estate rights to the buyer. Of course, this type of power of attorney must be linked to a valid sale contract and it is used to protect the buyer’s rights and ensure that the seller’s real estate rights will be transferred to the buyer, in the Israel Land Registry. Unlike a specific power of attorney, this type remains valid even after the seller/s death. Like a specific power of attorney, most Israeli lawyers use a standard form.
English Version and Authorization
What if you don’t understand Hebrew and live outside of Israel? Your Israeli lawyer will need to provide you with an English power of attorney (simply a translation of the standard form) and you have two options for signing the document: the Israeli Consulate or via Apostille certification. The Israeli consulate won’t allow you to sign a Hebrew power of attorney if you don’t understand the language of the document.
General Power of Attorney
This is NOT typically used by Israeli lawyers, because it gives the representative authority to do everything for another person, including handle money, bank accounts, investments, buy property, mortgage, sell etc. There are family situations that might warrant one family member providing another with this type of document, but you won’t usually encounter this with your Israeli lawyer. Unlike durable power of attorneys, in the US, this is NOT valid after a person’s death, or in the case of incapacity. Israel is still considering how to incorporate durable power of attorneys into Israeli law.
Health Power of Attorney
Under the Dying Patient Law from 2005, a person may sign a statutory health power of attorney form. This is relevant for people, who are living in Israel, or who visit Israel and want to appoint a healthcare agent, if they are unable to make healthcare decisions, while located in Israel. It is important to execute this through an Israeli lawyer, as you must use the statutory form.