The right to receive alimony from the estate

The rights of the testator’s relatives to receive alimony are established in the Inheritance Law and are not contingent upon the testator’s will. Furthermore, the testator cannot instruct in his will that his relatives will not receive alimony from his estate.

The right to alimony derives both from the religion of each person and Israeli law.

Israeli law prescribes that relatives who are entitled to receive alimony out of the testator’s estate are the testator’s spouse, children or parents and a minor, a dependent or a needy person who are dependent upon the testator.


The spouse’s right to alimony

The testator’s spouse, who is in need of alimony, may receive alimony from the estate during his/her entire widowhood period. However, the law prescribes that the court may grant a one-time grant to a testator’s widow who is remarried when the court is of the opinion that this is the appropriate thing to do under the circumstances of the matter. In such circumstances the law prescribes that the court should take into account whether the testator has children whose rights should be protected.

It is important to know that in circumstances that due to religious considerations the court or the religious court rules that a woman may not receive alimony during the testator’s lifetime, the wife will not be entitled to receive alimony from the estate.


Rights of the testator’s children to receive alimony

The testator’s children are entitled to receive alimony from the estate until they are 18 years old. If the testator has children who are disabled, mental patients or mentally retarded, these children will be entitled to receive alimony as long as they are in this condition. In addition, the court may, if it found that this would be fit under the circumstances of the matter, rule alimony for an adult child who is not disabled or a mental patient until the child is 23 years old.

It should be noted that even a testator’s child who was born after the testator’s death, or a child born out of wedlock, or an adopted child and a testator’s grandson who was orphaned and for whose livelihood the testator was responsible and his parents are incapable of providing for him, may receive alimony from the estate.


The rights of the testator’s parents for alimony

If the testator has parents who, on the eve of his death he provided for, they will be entitled to receive alimony from the estate throughout their lifetime.


Alimony amount

In the same manner that the right for alimony from a parent during the parent’s lifetime is contingent upon his financial ability and the standard of living to which family members became accustomed, then when the testator dies the court establishes the scope of alimony, its amount, and period of payment according to the special circumstances of the testator and the party in need.

The law leaves this matter to the court’s full discretion and only sets general instructions as to the manner of establishing the amount of alimony provided to the party in need. The court should examine the value of the testator’s estate and the right of the person receiving the alimony to receive a part in the estate; the court will also take into account the testator’s standard of living and the standard of living of the person entitled to receive alimony, as well as his property and income.


The right of the wife to receive the amount set forth in the Ketubah from the estate

The Ketubah is a deed signed by the husband prior to the nuptial ceremony in the framework of which the husband undertakes to pay a certain amount to the wife upon dissolution of the marriage. The marriage may dissolve only upon the divorce of the parties, and also upon the husband’s death.

Many women are not aware of their right to receive the amount indicated in the Ketubah out of the estate left by their husband and it is very important that the wife will ensure whether on the eve of her husband’s death she was still entitled to receive the Ketubah amount from her husband.

In the event the answer is positive, the wife has to approach the court and demand to receive payment in the amount indicated in her Ketubah from the estate.

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