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Testamentary Conditions in Wills

Israeli Succession Law allows almost absolute freedom of testation. A person has the right to decide how and to whom their property will be divided after their death, and can do so without exposing their will during their lifetime and without providing any justification.

One of the aspects of this freedom is testamentary conditions.

Testamentary conditions refer to specific requirements or stipulations that are set out in a will or testament, and that must be met before certain bequests or inheritances are given to the beneficiaries named in the will. Testamentary conditions can be used to ensure that the testator's wishes are carried out in a particular way, or to encourage certain behaviors or actions on the part of the beneficiaries.

Here are some different types of testamentary conditions:

Conditions precedent: These are conditions that must be met before a particular bequest or inheritance can be given to a beneficiary. For example, a testator may stipulate that a beneficiary must graduate from college before receiving a certain amount of money.

Conditions subsequent: These are conditions that must be met after a particular bequest or inheritance has been given to a beneficiary. For example, a testator may stipulate that a beneficiary must use the inherited funds to start a business, and that if the business fails within a certain amount of time, the funds must be returned to the estate.

Restraints on alienation: These are conditions that limit a beneficiary's ability to sell, transfer, or otherwise dispose of an inherited asset. For example, a testator may stipulate that a beneficiary must keep a family home in the family for a certain number of years.

Charitable bequests: These are bequests that are given to a charitable organization, and may be subject to certain conditions or restrictions. For example, a testator may stipulate that a charitable bequest can only be used for a particular purpose, such as supporting cancer research.

It is important to note that testamentary conditions can be complex and may require the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that they are drafted and executed properly.

All these conditions, if noted in a Will, may create a feeling of a "Dead Hand". The deceased person exerts control this way from beyond the grave, over their property and assets, through the use of these conditions.

The "dead hand" Wills are often criticized for being overly restrictive and for impeding the ability of heirs and beneficiaries to use their inherited property in a way that best suits their needs and interests. However, it is still widely used in many jurisdictions, including in Israel, as a way for testators to exert some control over their property even after they have passed away.

For initial complimentary advice, contact Dr Guy Carmi, Attorney-at-Law and Notary, Tel Aviv. Tel: 03 911 1034, Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



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