Planned Giving

Halachic Wills

Halacha Vs Secular Law

How to make your will legal according to halacha

Halacha and secular law conflict in many aspects with regard to writing one’s will.

According to Halacha According to State Law
Only sons are heirs Both genders are equal heirs
A firstborn son inherits double There is no difference between a firstborn and other children
If a person has male and female relatives on the same level of closeness, e.g., brothers and sisters, only the brothers inherit Brothers and sisters inherit equaly

How can you make your will halachically binding?

The solution is to create Halachic Will in additiona to your regular will.

What is the purpose of the Halachic Will?
To get the halachic inheritors (usually the sons) to agree to give up what is rightfully theirs. This enables the estate to be divided equally (or however you decide to divide it).
How does this work?
You leave your Torah inheritors a debt which is larger than the value of the estate. This is to be paid unless they agree to your will (which divides the assets as you’d like them to be divided). Through this, your Torah inheritors (usually sons) will agree to divide up the estate according to your plan, rather than pay the huge debt.
How do you do this?
A Halachic Will is usually signed with a Rabbi and is a simple document that you attach to your will.

This is a straightforward process.

Step 1:

Create your standard will detailing how you'd like to distribute your assets.

Step 2:

Sign a document with a third party (you can do this with your Rabbi) which leaves a huge debt to your halachic heirs (larger than the value of your estate) which they will have to pay if they consent to your will. You may also assign to certain provisions for a male firstborn (bechor).

For More Information

Contact our planned giving advisor
Contact our planned giving advisor

Your local Orthodox Rabbi will be able to answer any further questions you have about a Halachic Will. Your Rabbi will also be able to take you through the process of creating your own Halachic Will.