Major changes in the inheritance and wills regulations in Israel: According to a recent Ministry of Justice memorandum, which is based on research conducted by the Inheritance Committee, gays can inherit their partners’ assets. The decision is pending approval of the Ministers’ Legislative Committee and the Knesset's, but it is expected to be approved by both the ministers and MKs.
According to the new memorandum, one can prepare a will using a video recording, a first of its kind decision - no other country in the world permits the preparation of a visual will.
There are four ways to prepare a will in Israel: Hand written will, a will that was read in front of witnesses, a will directed at authorities, and an oral will of a person on his/her death bed.
Another change the committee recommended is that couples who are separated for over three years but still officially registered as married cannot inherit each other.
Also, people who are officially registered as married but live a full family life with another partner are allowed to have their life-partner inherit them. In such a case, married couples have to be separated for over three years and live in the same household with their respective partner for the inheritance law to take effect.
'New step is morally correct'
Another important clause in the memorandum is that teens over the age of 15 will be allowed to write their own wills after receiving court permission, since the current law forbids it. The court that will handle the teens' cases only on the issue of whether the teen fully understands the judiciary ramification of his/her act.
Attorney Irit Rosenblum, the founder and chairperson of the New Family organization, responded to the new recommendations: "The inheritance memorandum includes the rights of same-sex couples to inherit each other, a required right in light of the 18,000 same-sex couples who live together in Israel. This should serve as the opening shot in the campaign for equality of financial rights of same-sex couples."
Itay Pinkas, an advisor to Tel Aviv's mayor on gay issues and a member of Tel Aviv's City Council, said that the decision is appropriate and realistic. "I believe that the new step is morally correct and reflects reality. There are many gay couples who live together and there is no reason for their rights not to be secured - just like any other citizen in Israel," Pinkas said.