Making a Will, which is usually a very simple and relatively inexpensive document in Israel, can be a very simple expedient for avoiding intra-family conflict, squabbles and misunderstandings amongst your heirs. In addition, probating a Will, when the time comes, involves much less expense, time and bureaucracy than that required in order to obtain a Succession Order. Moreover, the latter may well distribute your estate in a manner which is less than ideal – for example, it may grant your widow only half of your estate, with the other half being distributed outright amongst your children. Your Will can also appoint named guardians to look after your children should you and your spouse die while they are still young or are incapable of managing their own affairs.
A Will can thus deal clearly and straightforwardly with issues such as:
- whether you would like your spouse to take possession of all your assets after you die, or whether you would prefer to distribute your assets in a different manner, e.g. half to your spouse and the other half to your children, or to children from a former marriage;
- whether any of your children have special needs, which may justify an unequal division of your assets;
- whether your grandchildren should inherit the share of your estate that their parent would have inherited had s/he been alive on the date of your death;
- whether a trust ought to be established to preserve the assets of your estate after your demise, in order to allow for their distribution only after the beneficiaries have reached a certain age (usually 21 years of age in the case of Israeli beneficiaries, after Army service);
- whether you would like to make any special bequests of any items of monetary or sentimental value to ensure their use for one or more generations to come;
- whether you would like to include a long-stop provision to cover the possibility that, God forbid, your entire family (children and grandchildren included) might die in a plane or car accident, etc.
- the appointment of named guardians over your children, should you die before any of them reach the age of 18 or 21.