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Will Power: On the Power of Notarized Wills

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Did you know, that if you record yourself on video commanding your will, and it is perfectly clear that you stated your wishes and that there is no doubt about the authenticity of your words, it may still be invalid?

Currently, the Israeli Law does not recognize video as a legitimate way to perform a will. The Knesset is currently debating a substantial reform in the Law of Inheritance (1965), to enable also video-recorded wills. The fact that even a video-taped "will" is not recognized, only emphasizes the importance of crafting a well-established written will that would leave no room for doubt.

A notarial will is the most powerful kind of will. It is equivalent to a will performed by a judge (a will before an authority), and the ability to undermine its validity is almost non-existent. The other possible types of wills under the Israeli Law of Inheritance are a will before witnesses, and a handwritten will.

The handwritten will, although intuitively might seem strong because of the handwriting and the signature, is the easiest to object to for many reasons, both technical and substantial. It may be argued, for example, that the testator was not aware of the content of the will or that the deceased did not understand what was written. Claims that testator was under duress, the signature is not their signature, the dates are incorrect or that the ink color varies throughout the will, may also be heard, alleging that the will was falsified.

A somewhat stronger type of will is the one done in front of witnesses, when the witnesses must have no interest in the will. It is still, however, possible to claim for its annulment, on technical grounds such as when the witnesses did not sign at the same place and at the same time, or claiming that they have interests in the will of the deceased, etc.

And then we have the strongest type of wills, which is wills before an authority. Of those, the will before a notary (a notarial will) is the most feasible. The notary verifies the will of the testator, forms his own impression of their mental state, and the signature's date is recorded and cannot be falsified. As a consequence, a Notarial Will is much more difficult to oppose than the other types of wills.

Another advantage is that the notary can submit the approved Will at the Inheritance Registrar office, which ensures that the Will does not "disappear" or being forgotten. This serves as a type of "insurance" in case the testator passes away and a Will is nowhere to be found, since it was lost or it is held by someone that it is not in his best interest to present the will. This service by the notary is unique to a notarial will, since otherwise the testator herself needs to appear before the Registrar.

Especially in cases in which you believe that there is a good chance someone would attempt to contend the Will (for example, in an uneven distribution of the estate among your children, or in cases of disinheritance), a notarial Will improves the chances that your will (pun intended) shall be respected.

For initial complementary 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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Thursday, 25 July 2024

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