Medical Opinion before Making Israeli Will

Israeli law allows you to make a will in a number of different ways. The most common method traditionally has been signing an Israeli will, drafted by an Israeli lawyer, in front of two witnesses at your lawyer’s office. However, according to Section 22 of the Israeli Law of Inheritance one may “make” a ¬†will by reciting it to an Israeli notary (NOTE: a notary in Israel is an Israeli lawyer, with over 10 years of legal experience, who is licensed as an Israeli notary, after taking compulsory courses and being approved by a legal committee to function as a notary).

Sometimes, if a person is confined to their bed at home, or in a hospital bed, this can be a convenient way to create a binding Israeli will, if done properly. In a recent case before the Tel Aviv Family Court (55650-05-13), the Israeli will of a bedridden woman was challenged. The parties challenging the will claimed that the woman was not competent to make it and that the notary did not follow Israeli law, in that she wrote down the woman’s “Will” (and authorized it much later, and in fact after the woman’s death), without requesting a medical opinion about the testatrix’s competency of the day the notary heard the Will.

The court found that indeed the will was defective, as an Israeli notary according to Section 4(e) of the Israeli Notary Regulations is obligated to request and review a medical opinion about a person, confined to their bed (whether at home or in a hospital) attesting to their legal competency, before agreeing to “hear” the Will and authorize it. Since the notary failed to do this the Court found that the Will made before this Israeli notary was void.

It is interesting to know that the term bedridden has been very widely interpreted and essentially an Israeli notary must request a medical opinion before authorizing an Israeli will for any person, who cannot come to the notary’s office without assistance, or who cannot get around their home without assistance.