In Israel, probate is a fact of life. Unlike the US, where the creation of a trust is used to avoid probate, in Israel the probate process is necessary to transfer real estate to heirs/beneficiaries. This brief guide to the Israeli probate of a US will provides general information to owners of second homes in Israel, or beneficiaries of a US will, which bequeaths Israeli real estate. The only way to transfer title of Israeli real estate from a decedent to the beneficiaries, in the Israel Land Registry, is through a formal Israeli probate process and receipt of a probate order.
A US will is probated through the Israeli court, via a Petition to Validate a Will. Beneficiaries will need to retain an Israeli lawyer, to prepare and file the petition and gather the necessary paperwork.
Your Israeli lawyer will assemble this package of documents for the Israeli probate process:
1. Title extract from the Israel Land Registry to verify ownership of the Israeli real estate.
2. Original of the US will.
3. Original death certificate.
4. Death certificates of any beneficiaries that predeceased the decedent.
5. A petition for validation (your lawyer will have to translate the Hebrew form into English).
6. An Israeli power of attorney (for court work and representation at the Israel Land Registry).
7. Israeli legal notices.
8. Hebrew draft of final probate order.
9. Copy of US probate order, if Will was already probated in US.
10. Legal opinion on relevant US state law.
11. Affidavits of identification.