Inheritances and Wills
If you thought that a person's worries are over once he dies and that inheritance is simply a matter of "dividing the assets equally and we're done", it turns out it is a complex and delicate issue which has emotional and financial repercussions.
Dvorah, who was married to Arik, a divorcee with three children from a previous marriage, wanted after her death (which should be after 120 years), to give all her inheritance to the daughter they had together. She heard rumors that according to the inheritance laws her daughter would be subject to a hard legal struggle with the husband's children. In order to protect her daughter she came to me.
When a person does not leave a will it is impossible to fulfill his wishes even if they are known to all, and his estate will be divided amongst his relatives in accordance to the priorities defined by the law of succession.
Who are the heirs?
Three levels of inheritance are stated in the law. You can only inherit from one level and there is no importance to how many heirs there are on that level, in other words, if one level had one only one heir then he has the right to the entire estate. And if there are several heirs there is an equal division amongst them. If there is an heir on a lower level he does not inherit anything. The spouse of the deceased has a special status.
The levels of inheritance are as follows:
1. First level: children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the testator.
2. Second level: parents, brothers, nieces and nephews of the testator.
3. Third level: grandmother, grandfather, uncle and cousins of the testator.
The inheritance is executed as follows:
1. In the testator has a spouse and children or grandchildren-the spouse receives half of the inheritance (in this case Arik inherits half of the estate, and it will be divided amongst his children upon his death). The other half of the inheritance is divided amongst the children (or grandchildren) equally.
2. If the testator has a spouse and no children or grandchildren – but he has brothers, nephews or grandparents – the spouse receives 2/3 of the estate and one third is divided equally amongst the others.
3. If there is no spouse and there are children – the estate is divided equally amongst the children.
4. If there are no children- the grandchildren divide it equally.
5. If some of the children are living and some are not, but they have grandchildren, the portion that belonged to the deceased children is divided amongst his grandchildren.
6. No grandchildren? We move to the next level.
7. If the parents are alive the estate is divided equally amongst them.
8. If there are no parents, the estate is divided equally amongst the brothers.
9. If there are no brothers, it is divided amongst the nephews.
10. If one parent has died the remaining parent receives half and the others divide the other half equally.
11. If there are no inheritors on the second level we move to level three.
12. On this level the division is executed in the same way as the previous level.
Only a will can prevent this litigation and respect the wishes of the litigator.