There are currently thousands of unclaimed assets in Israel, worth about NIS 15 billion. These unclaimed assets include land, developed real estate, bank accounts, stocks and bonds.
“Abandoned assets” are defined in Section 1 of the law as an asset to which no one is entitled and cannot be considered the owner, or an asset whose owner is unknown.
This naturally leads to the need for legal heirs to locate such property, assets and land. Finding lost, abandoned or unclaimed assets in Israel requires, among other things, a very competent, diligent Israeli attorney with a thorough understanding, as well as proper investigation, to locate these lands and assets. How to locate and locate lost or abandoned assets in Israel? This article addresses this question.
The first step is to gather all relevant data, including a pedigree or identification number, to begin due diligence and genealogical evidence to find the property, the asset in the Israeli land registries of Tabu, Minhal or Hevra Meshakenet. We will find out the name of the current or historical owner of the land and their Israeli identification number or American/other passport. The Israeli TABU information is considered highly reliable and confidential and is part of the Israeli land database.
The second step is to determine 1) whether the abandoned property can be managed for the benefit of the private owner(s) and 2) whether the property can be transferred to the beneficiaries upon receipt of an Israeli probate court order or, if no beneficiaries can be found, the property can be transferred to the State of Israel until appropriate heirs are found.
We work with various types of abandoned assets in Israel, including real estate, land, personal property, cash and bank accounts. According to the law, an “abandoned asset” in Israel is defined as an asset whose owner or manager cannot be found or is unknown, and which can only be released through probate proceedings and a court order determining the proper heirs and now owners of Israeli land or a financial asset in Israel.
The Israeli government completes its administration of the asset by one of three main measures. First, it can return the asset back to the person who is its rightful owner by order of the Israeli probate court. Alternatively, he may transfer the asset to the State of Israel. And finally, thirdly, if necessary, he can transfer the asset to the Society for the Search and Restitution of Holocaust Victims’ Property.
We will discuss the first measure – negotiations with the TABU over unclaimed assets – in more detail. In this case, the person claiming the assets must prove to the Administrator General of Israel that he or she is the rightful owner of the assets. In this procedure, the Israeli Administrator General will proceed with great care to make sure that he or she has received sufficient information about the claimant’s rights and a probate court order proving that the person is the rightful heir. The Israeli Administrator General then ensures that the asset ends up in the right hands and also prevents any threats to the rightful owner of the asset, such as an illegal takeover. Applications can be made on your own, but it is highly recommended that you do so through a licensed Israeli attorney who is an expert in finding unclaimed Israeli land.
Although we have focused on Israeli real estate so far, there are many other types of abandoned assets in Israel that can be classified as “unclaimed property.” Examples of such assets include funds set aside for retirement, reserve and education funds, life insurance policies, executive insurance policies, inactive bank accounts, various savings plans, dividends and stocks, and more. These funds may be held by financial institutions, insurance companies, pension funds, hospitals, clinics, corporations, government agencies and Israeli public enterprises.