As an Israeli lawyer, I am far more interested in your number than your name.
Whether you are buying a house, opening a bank account, making a will or selling
your car, you need a number to identify you. A name is not enough. If you have
an Israeli identity card, that gives you one number for life. If you don’t, the
chances are that when you did any of these things, or just about anything else
in Israel, you would have been asked for your passport number and that number is
now your official identity here. Q: My wife
and I live in Melbourne and we own an apartment in Jerusalem which we bought ten
years ago. We want to sell the apartment but it is still registered at the Land
Registry with our previous passport numbers and so we are having a problem
proving that we are the owners. Can you help?
Is that a problem? Not at first. For the first
five or ten years you'll be fine but then, when you renew your passport, your
number will no longer be your number, or more accurately, you will now be a new
number. More than that, as far as the Israeli system is concerned, you are now
not only a new number but you are no longer the same person.
A: Updating your identification
details at the Land Registry is a relatively simple process. A lawyer will
prepare affidavits for both you and your wife to confirm that you have updated
your passports and therefore the numbers have changed. A third affidavit will be
required from someone else who knows you to confirm that you are the same people
who purchased the apartment even though your identification numbers have
changed. These documents are then submitted to the Land Registry with the
appropriate fee (currently NIS 31) and the register should be updated within a
Q: Our father, a widower who lived in London and owned an
apartment in Bet Shemesh and a bank account in Jerusalem, recently passed away.
He purchased the apartment in Bet Shemesh 20 years ago and opened the bank
account 11 years ago and so neither are registered with his current passport
number. What do we do?
A: In order to transfer ownership of the assets to you,
as his heirs, you will need an inheritance or probate order from an Israeli
court (even if you already have an order in the UK). In order to open the file,
your late father will need to be identified by a number – in this case, his
passport number. If you use only his current passport number, the court order
will be rejected by the Land Registry and by the bank when you come to transfer
ownership, since the numbers will not match.
What we suggest is that you apply
for the order here using all his passport numbers, previous and current, and
prove that your father held all these different passports. Once you have an
order which includes all the relevant passport numbers, you will then be able to
gain access to the bank account and to transfer ownership of the property at the
In cases where a probate order has already been obtained
in only the current passport number, it is possible to apply, with proof of
identity, to amend the order so that it includes previous passport numbers as
well.This article is presented for your general information and does not
constitute legal advice. You should obtain specific legal advice about your
estate before taking (or deciding not to take) any action. Please contact us for
further information.© SaftWalsh 2011. All rights reserved.