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Corporate Law

Corporate Law

Corporate Law

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Litigation

Filing a lawsuit in Israel

A lawsuit begins by filing a statement of claim. The plaintiff approaches the court and files a statement of claim against the defendant, indicating his cause of action against the defendant. In most cases, a monetary charge will form the basis of the lawsuit. The plaintiff will demand that the defendant pay him a sum of money. Upon filing the statement of claim, the plaintiff has a duty to provide the defendant with the statement of claim. Obviously, until the plaintiff provides the defendant with the statement of claim, there is no duty whatsoever on the defendant regarding the lawsuit since he is not aware that it had been filed.

When to file a statement of defense

Upon delivering the statement of claim to the defendant, he has a duty to file a statement of defense with the court within 30 days. Should he fail to do so, he shall be deemed to have admitted to the cause of action and the plaintiff shall be entitled to a judgment in his favor for the full amount of his lawsuit.

The first court hearing - preliminary proceedings

After filing the statement of defense, the lawsuit advances to the next stage. A hearing will be scheduled before a judge who will determine a date for a preliminary hearing of the case by the parties. The preliminary proceedings in the case will usually consist of ordering the parties to disclose to the other party all of the documents in their possession and ordering the parties to answer questions referred to them by the other party. In addition, the judge will order the parties to file an affidavit of evidence in chief. An affidavit of evidence in chief is actually the testimony of a witness submitted in writing. In the next stage, the parties will attend a preliminary hearing to be held before the court. At this hearing, the judge will seek to advance the case from a technical aspect and will attempt to cause the parties to reach a compromise. If the parties do not reach a compromise, the case will be scheduled for an evidence hearing.

Affidavit of evidence

An affidavit of evidence in chief is actually the testimony of a witness submitted in writing. The witness to should write down all the facts he saw and heard, these facts will be part of a comprehensive evidence in the case

The evidence hearing

The evidence hearing is a hearing in which the witnesses of each party are questioned about their affidavits. The defendant’s attorney will question the plaintiff’s witnesses and the plaintiff’s attorney will question the defendant’s witnesses. At the end of the evidence stage in the case and after all of the witnesses have been questioned about their affidavits, the judge will order the parties’ attorneys to file their summaries in the case. First, the plaintiff’s attorney will file the summaries and thereafter, the defendant’s attorney will file the summaries.

The summaries of the case

The summaries are documents in which each party summarizes its version and supports it with evidence, as presented in court during the questioning stage and also presents legal evidence and arguments supporting his version.

The verdict

After both parties have presented their summaries, the court will give its judgment in the case.

Apeal

After receiving the judgment, the losing party has a right to appeal the decision of the court. In most cases, an appeal may be filed within 45 days from the date on which the judgment is given.

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Wills and Inheritance

The procedure of inheritance in Israel

At death, the deceased bequeaths his estate to his heirs. After the death, all the heirs to the deceased are required to apply to the Registry of Inheritance or the rabbinical court in order to receive an inheritance order or an order stating the existence of a will of the deceased. If the deceased was not a resident of the State of Israel but left property in Israel, no transfer may be executed in Israel until an inheritance order of order stating the existence of a will is produced from the country of citizenship. In order to implement the inheritance the aforementioned documents must be presented to the appropriate Israeli court. Only after receiving the will may the appropriate court make implementation of the inheritance possible in Israel. The procedure involved in attaining an inheritance order or an order stating existence of a will is to file an application together with the death certificate and the original will and to inform all other successors of the application. In case the deceased lived outside the borders of Israel additional documents will be required, all according to the citizenship of the deceased. According to the law of the State of Israel, in cases where the deceased left no written will to identify successors of property and how to divide it amongst said successors, each of the successors will receive a part according to the Law of Inheritance. The order of inheritance according to law is as follows: The law declares the division amongst each of the successors to the estate of the deceased. The division is as follows: Offspring of the deceased are entitle to half the estate and the spouse/life partner is entitled to half including personal belongings belonging to the mutual household (including passenger vehicles). If the deceased leaves no offspring the division changes accordingly so that the spouse/partner receives a larger portion than the other successors. The remaining portion of the estate after the spouse/partner is to be divided equally amongst offspring, parents or grandparents – if they are eligible to inherit. When an individual is not interested in bequeathing his estate to successors according to the Law of Inheritance, he is required to draw up a will specifying how his property will be disposed of: who the successors are and what portion each of them shall receive. In order to acquire assistance or additional information, please apply our office and we will be happy to assist.

We have received a Probate Order / Inheritance Order in the domicile of the deceased. The deceased owns a property in Israel (Land, Bank account etc.). Do we need to get the Probate Order / Inheritance Order also in Israel?

Yes. According to the Israeli law, in order to execute a property located in Israel, one has to get an Israeli probate order / succession order

When does the legacy pass to the inheritance?

The legacy passes to the heirs immediately upon the death of the deceased, obviously in order to exercise the rights; one has to get a probate order / inheritance order.

How long does it take to get a probate order / inheritance order?

The procedure can take few months.

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Real Estate

What are the various stages of purchasing an apartment in Israel

After choosing an apartment, it is important to perform a number of actions that offer protection to the purchaser of the apartment.

Land registry extract

A significant portion of rights registered in respect of residential apartments in Israel are found at the Land Registry Office in the area in which the apartment is located. The registration of the apartment can be reviewed by obtaining a land registry extract of the apartment from the Land Registry Office. The extract specifies details relating to the apartment that are recorded in the Land Register. The extract specifies the block, parcel and sub-parcel of the apartment. It states the size of the apartment at the time that the apartment was registered, the attachments to the apartment (such as a roof, storeroom, parking, etc.) and the share of the apartment in the apartment building. The extract specifies the owners / holders of rights in the apartment, as well as the holders of other rights in the apartment (mortgage holder, easement holder, etc.) as well as various notes relating to the apartment, such as a caveat in favor of any third party or a lien imposed by a creditor, etc.

Sale agreement

According to Israeli law, a real estate transaction requires a written instrument. Therefore, the purchase of an apartment necessitates a written agreement between the parties to the transaction. The agreement needs to include a number of significant details to comply with the writing requirement. In order for the written document to be binding, it must contain, inter alia, the following details: names of the parties to the transaction, precise details of the apartment, transaction price, terms of payment, delivery date and, of course, the signature of the parties to indicate their consent to the agreement. It is, of course, desirable to prepare a clear and detailed agreement containing most of the terms that are acceptable at the time of preparing the sale agreement.

Reporting to the land taxation authorities

Upon preparing the agreement for purchasing the apartment, the parties need to report to the land taxation authorities as soon as possible regarding the transaction, since the purchaser’s rights in the apartment cannot be registered without issuing tax approvals. The accepted approvals consist of confirmation of payment of purchase tax and betterment tax.

Purchase tax

The purchaser is required to pay purchase tax when acquiring an apartment. The amount of tax varies according to the value of the apartment and the number of apartments owned by the purchaser. AN Israeli resident who acquires his first apartment shall be required to pay reduced purchase tax.

Betterment tax

A tax that is normally imposed on the seller of an apartment. There are a number of exemptions under law, which, in some cases, exempt the seller from the payment of betterment tax.

Registration of a caveat

After choosing an apartment and signing the agreement, a caveat should be registered at the Land Registry Office regarding the purchaser’s rights in the apartment. A caveat is a note registered on the seller’s rights in the apartment and constitutes a warning regarding the purchaser’s rights in the apartment. Any third party can easily learn of the purchaser’s rights in the apartment by reviewing the land extract of the apartment.

Reporting to the municipality / local authority regarding the execution of the transaction

When the transaction progresses towards registration of the purchasers as owners of the apartment, the execution of the sale transaction needs to be reported to the municipality / local authority since one of the documents required for registration of ownership in the name of the purchaser is a “municipality approval for the Land Registry Office”. The “municipality approval for the Land Registry Office” is an approval issued by the municipality / local authority, in which the municipality confirms that it does not oppose the apartment being registered in the name of the purchaser. The municipality usually issues this approval only after all of the debts on the apartment have been paid to it and, in many cases, the municipality demands that also property tax is paid to it in advance.

Registering the apartment at the Land Registry Office in the name of the purchaser

Upon receipt of all of the required approvals: confirmation of payment of purchase tax, confirmation of payment of betterment tax, and the municipality approval for the Land Registry Office, the apartment may be registered in the purchaser’s name. The purchaser needs to provide the Land Registry Office with all of the said approvals, together with a bill of sale (number of copies). The Land Registrar will review the transaction and the approvals and will then sign the bill of sale and thus approve execution of the transaction and registration of ownership in the name of the purchaser.

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