Inheritance, Wills and Estates
Elena Rabner Arazi and her team avail of specialized knowledge in all inheritance and estate matters, including inheritance tax in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.
1. Drafting Wills
We understand the importance of proper estate planning and the role that a well-drafted will can play in ensuring that a person's assets are distributed according to their wishes and avoiding year-long, costly and nerve-wracking legal disputes between heirs. Our experienced lawyers under the lead of Elena Rabner Arazi provide guidance and support throughout the entire process, from drafting the will to executing the estate and will never neglect the human component in any these matters.
Our experienced lawyers advise foreign testators holding assets in Israel or domiciled in Israel and will always take into consideration possible tax implications either in Israel or in foreign, European jurisdictions. Elena Rabner-Arazi and her team members are well aware that inheritance tax abroad and real estate tax in Israel may have a destructive impact on any inheritance plan and may well prevent the successful transfer of wealth from one generation to the other.
Our attorneys are also qualified to operate as estate administrators under Israeli law.
2. Estate Planning
At some point in life, many people start thinking about how to ensure the orderly transfer of their accumulated assets to their heirs. This process is very personal, and must take into account the various of both the testator and the heirs, the taxes due for each of the heirs and the balance with gifts received by each of the family members in the past.
Proper inheritance planning can prevent potential conflicts between heirs, eliminate uncertainty and may enable substantial savings in real estate and inheritance tax.
Elena Rabner Arazi and her team will guide you patiently and with much understanding through the estate planning procedure, suggest solutions and advice on particular problems such as possible minor heirs or suggest trust structures where family assets should be kept together for the benefit of all family members. In addition, Elena will also advise you, if you envisage gifts during your lifetime.
3. Estate Administration
In particular where an estate includes one or several real estate assets, it is advisable to appoint an estate administrator who will be able to manage these assets until an inheritance certificate is obtained and will distribute them subsequently between the heirs as set out in the will.
Under Israeli law, the estate administrator is under supervision of the family court and has to file regular reports on her activity. Her task is usually to locate the estate assets, to manage them on an ongoing basis (such as managing a company or renting out real estate), locate the heirs, pay the debts of the estate, collect payments from third parties for the estate and to finally distribute the assets between the heirs.
Our firm has acted as an estate administrator in numerous cases including complex estates with a large number of assets and heirs in several jurisdictions. Our lawyers are all fluent in German, English and French and knowledgeable in various European jurisdictions, such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland, which enables them to effectively co-operate with the foreign authorities and communicate with the heirs domiciled abroad.
4. Trusts and Family Wealth Management
The benefits of trusts are numerous, and include the ability to keep trust assets and funds together even after the death of the trust founder, avoiding to split them between various heirs. Our firm avails of extensive experience in the trusts of various jurisdictions including Israel and Liechtenstein.
We work in a professional and responsible manner, taking into account the client’s unique family and relationships to help achieve the requested goals to the benefit of all parties involved.
5. Estate and Inheritance Tax
On one hand, estate tax is a tax that is assessed in relation to all the assets of an estate at the time of the death of the owner and before the assets are transferred to the heirs. On the other hand, inheritance tax refers to each heir personally and is assessed according to the inheritance value received by a certain heir.
In Israel, an estate tax existed until its abolition in 1981. Currently, Israel has neither an estate nor an inheritance tax. However, estate tax will apply on heirs residing in Europe or with respect to real estate located outside Israel, in particular in Germany, will be subject to the local inheritance tax, which may be substantial.
Our team is dedicated to providing professional and personalized advice taking into consideration the specific needs and circumstances of our European client.