As a rule, Israel’s Succession Law of 1965 and the Notary Regulations of 1977, state that a Will and Testament is to be signed in the physical presence of a Notary, after producing a government-produced photo identification document. Additionally, the Testator must show that they are of sound mind and produced the terms of the document on their free will without any coercion – Section 22 of the Succession Law and section 23 of the Notary Regulations.
However, due to the current COVID-19, whereby it has become extremely more difficult for Testators to be seated in front of executors and notaries, the Israel Justice Ministry has decided to introduce new emergency regulations as to how to conduct such issues.
The first is writing an amendment to section 160 of the Succession Law of 1965, whereby, instead of one needing to be physically in the presence of a notary, the Testator may use technology to verify their identity to the Notary. Accordingly, hereto are the specific directions of how this is to be done:
- The notary and the Testator must be in Israeli territory
- Proof of the testator shall be proven in one of the following ways:
- Have a personal relationship with the notary
- Presenting confirmation of identification from the government website: https://www.gov.il/he/service/online-authentication-adam, with a copy of the confirmation being attached to the Will and showing a frontal form of government ID via the technological apparatus (camera); For purposes, “ID” can be either a passport or government issue Identification Card, or any other type photo identification document whereby the notary can confirm the subject’s identity.
After providing this type of confirmation of ID, the digital confirmation of the Will shall be conducted in accordance with Form 13-A to the second addendum. Accordingly, there will be a remark on the Will declaring that it was written and executed digitally.
Throughout the process, the Notary shall record the proceedings, including the acceptance of the Testator’s willingness to execute the Will without any coercion. The recording shall be stored in safe keeping by the notary and is not to be edited or changed in any way.
According to Section 22(5) of the of the Succession Law, “Where a Will was made in front of a governing authority, it is to be deposited with the Registrar of Inheritance Matters”, whereby, as per subsection 7, a Notary is included in the reference to an “authority”. Therefore, under normal circumstances, the Will is to be submitted in its original form by the Executor at the Registrar; however, due to the current situation whereby it is currently not possible to leave one’s home due to the quarantine, the Justice Ministry saw it fit to amend the current law and include the directive, whereby, it is possible to submit the Will electronically via The Administrator General and the Official Receiver’s website and portal: https://www.gov.il/he/departments/news/corona-26420.
The document needs to be digitally signed by the Executor and declared that it was confirmed digitally. Moreover, one needs to specify that the person submitting the document will need to identify themselves using their Israeli ID number (not passport).
With all the above mentioned, the original document will still need to be submitted within 45 days after the current emergency situation is lifted.
As per section 21(1) and Regulation 6(2-7), should an original document not be submitted within the said 45 days, the document along with the records, that is already on file shall be deleted, this is because the original law and Regulations stipulate specifically that one needs to submit original documents in order for them to be legally binding unless the Testator or Executor can give just cause as to why this was not possible.
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