“We cannot prepare for everything in life,” says Adv. Adi Chen, “but we can prepare in many ways if we utilize existing legal instruments that have been developed for overcoming different life challenges.” For 23 years, Chen, a family law and inheritance lawyer, has used her considerable skills to assist clients in navigating through many of life’s trying moments, including handling complex disagreements in international wills and estates, negotiating disputes between spouses who have married abroad in civil marriages or mixed marriages, and preparing wills, ‘Enduring Power of Attorney,’ ‘Expressions of a Will’ and many other complex legal documents.
Chen, who was admitted to the Israeli Bar Association in 1998 and holds an LLM (Master of Law) degree from Bar Ilan University, has served as a lecturer on family, inheritance, and international private law in various academic institutes since 1999. As Chair of the Children Rights Committee and Co-Chair of the Adoption and Surrogacy Committee of the Israeli Bar Association, she is deeply involved in family law legislation.
Adv. Chen specializes in international wills, inheritance law, and estate planning, and is proficient in managing legal disputes in such cases. Chen provides legal counsel, handling, mediation, and support, including legal representation in courts and tribunals. Due to her extensive academic and research work, Adv. Chen has work relationships with foreign law scholars and experts from numerous countries. She also specializes in the legal facilitation of heirs’ claims and disputes concerning heirs’ benefits and pensions.
As an experienced family law practitioner, Chen has handled cases in common law marriage, joint marriage agreements, civil marriage, domestic violence and harassment, divorce claims, property asset claims, child abduction claims according to the Hague Convention, and numerous other family matters.
Chen says that the role of the lawyer has expanded and has become more complex in the mobile world of today. “Today, with freedom of mobility and especially with the Open Skies Agreement, the world has become one small global village, which has legal significance in family and inheritance law. It is essential that people consult a legal expert before taking steps.” Chen says that couples who share different faiths, or who may come from different countries need to think about the best way to resolve conflict if it occurs. “It is better to reach agreements than wait for the courts in different countries to make decisions in cases of disputes,” says Adv. Chen. “When it comes to cross-state disputes, problems of international jurisdiction arise, and questions of the applicability of foreign law surface. In order to avoid such proceedings, it is very important to regulate property relations between the parties in an appropriate prenuptial agreement. This determines which country will be authorized to discuss a conflict and which country’s laws will be utilized to enforce the judgment..”
Chen, who is certified in the preparation of Enduring Power of Attorney and Expression of Will documents, says that, especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to be prepared for all possibilities. “We must be prepared not only for the good but also for the bad,” she says. “Preparing our wishes now, ultimately, is caring for ourselves and our loved ones later.”
Chen strongly recommends that individuals consult a lawyer to prepare three different legal documents – a will, an Enduring Power of Attorney, and an ‘Expression of a Will,’ in certain cases – each being appropriate for a different stage of life. A will, she says, is the surest way of ensuring the distribution of the deceased’s estate, in accordance with the wishes of the deceased. The ‘Enduring Power of Attorney,’ she explains, is a legal document created for a time when one is in a stage of life when it is difficult or impossible to make independent decisions, due to ill health, such as dementia, or even for a limited time after an accident. “An enduring Power of Attorney may cover different types of decisions, from health and welfare to property and finances. You can decide these matters in advance as you wish to see them carried out when the time comes. It’s very important to consider the future and grant an Enduring Power of Attorney to one, or more than one person, whom you trust and who will be given the right to make specific decisions on your behalf, in case you need help or lose the ability to make decisions by yourself.”
Someone who becomes incapacitated without signing an ‘Enduring Power of Attorney,’ explains Chen, loses the legal right to make decisions regarding financial matters, place of residence, and level of care. “Unless an “Enduring Power of Attorney’ agreement is in place, family members are not allowed to make decisions on your behalf. They will have to go to court to gain a legal authority to act on your behalf, which can be stressful, offensive, and expensive.”
The third type of document, an ‘Expression of a Will,’ enables a guardian to designate the identity of a person who will care for minors or adults currently under the guardian’s supervision, should the guardian be unable to take care of the minor or adult.
Adv. Adi Chen brings professionalism, passion, personal support, and discreetness to every case. She maintains a direct and personal relationship with all her clients and provides them with high-level legal and professional service coupled with the special sensitivity required for matters of family law.
Written in cooperation with Adi Chen - Family Law, Successions, Wills & Private International Law