Why do we need wills?

If no will exists, then provisions of the Inheritance Law apply to an estate.  The Law determines exactly how the estate of a person who has not left behind a will shall be distributed.

Are readers of this article familiar with the provisions of the Inheritance Law?  It is highly probable that they aren’t, or at least not to an exact extent!

It is reasonable to assume that each person would like to decide how his/her estate should be divided; after all, the estate is the result of a lifetime of work.  This holds true not only for extended families but for each and every case.

If your loved ones are important to you, I suggest that you don’t leave the matter to chance, i.e. the default option as defined in the Inheritance Law.

Let’s take the simplest example of a husband and wife who have two children and an apartment.  In the event the father dies without having drawn up a will, the inheritance is divided as follows: The father’s portion of the apartment (typically one-half) goes to his wife {50%} and to his two children (25% for each child).  The implication of this division is that the wife owns 75% of the apartment and the children 25%.  This means that after the father’s passing, the children could—all of a sudden—demand their portion, i.e., request liquidating the partnership in the apartment.  In such a case the mother is liable to find herself ‘betrayed’ by her own children who are in need of money while she is still alive.  Therefore, if you wish to prevent a situation such as this, you need to draw up a will through which you bequeath your entire estate to your spouse; only if your spouse is no longer alive at the time of your death does it go to the children.

Another case is that of a widower who has children from his late wife, and who meets a woman who lives with him in his house.  If he dies without leaving a will, what happens?  To whom does his estate go?

Let us refer to the provisions of Section 55 of the Inheritance Law: “In the case of a man and woman living as a family in a common household but not married to each other, and one of them dies at which time neither is married to another person, the Law views the survivor as being the inheritor of the estate—as if the couple was married and a legal inheritance in force.  This, in the absence of another directive, whether explicit or implicit, in a will left by the legator.”  

If that same person is not interested in bequeathing his assets to the woman with whom he lives, it is imperative that he draw up a will!

That same will should be drawn up by a probate attorney specializing in family law rather than any other attorney, in order to be dependably responsible for the inheritance.  Otherwise problems are liable to arise after the death of the deceased, with an ensuing ‘world war’ over his assets.  Therefore it is important that the will be drafted according to law so that there are no loopholes to exploit and that the wishes of the deceased are fulfilled.

Not only is it important that the will be drafted according to law, but in certain complex cases you should consult with tax experts so that your inheritors are not forced to pay taxes.

Additionally, in all matters concerning reciprocal inheritances and wills is it important for you to be briefed and informed by your attorney, because there are far-reaching implications concerning the drafting, and nullification, of wills of this sort.

At the end of the day, no person can know when his appointed hour comes, therefore we don’t recommend waiting until old age to draw up a formal will.

Attorney Avivit Moskovich explains the nature of a will and when it’s worthwhile to prepare one.

You’re invited to contact attorney Avivit Moskovich today. She is an expert in family law and can skillfully arrange matters pertaining to wills. Phone: 03-6133995 or 052-3986655