I posted a blog last Dec 13 about the last inheritance of my mother-in-law Millie Silverstein, who died at the age of 101 on Jan 21, 2017. It is now over a year since her death and we are still waiting for her last bank account, held in the Netanya Branch of the First International (Benleumi) Bank Israel, to be paid to her heirs, her daughters Naomi, my wife, and Barbara, who lives in England.
Because the Bank would not release her money based on her will, we had to go to probate. This took 8 months and cost NIS 7,000 for the court and the lawyer. The Court ruled that her will was valid and appointed her elder daughter Naomi as the executor of the will. Since Naomi has Alzheimer’s disease and I am her legal guardian (apotropus) in Israel, that in effect makes me the executor. But, the new Bank manageress refused to release the money to me, because according to the will half the money has to go to Barbara. Barbara then wrote to her and stated that she wanted me to receive all the money and she trusts me to pay all the expenses and then give her what is owed. Even though she also sent a copy of her British Passport, the manageress refused to release the money.
I was naturally upset, but put her in touch with our lawyer to try to find a solution to this seemingly insuperable problem. They came to the solution that if Barbara goes to the Israeli Embassy in London and gets someone there to witness her signature, with sufficient proof of her id and address, they will accept that. So we had the lawyer draft a letter in Hebrew into which I inserted all the necessary data (bank a/c numbers and addresses) and that was approved by the bank manageress and then we had it translated into English, so that Barbara could know what she was signing. Then I sent those letters to Barbara by e-mail.
She finally received an appointment to go to the Israel Embassy in London. She was to take various documents and proof of her id, and she was to take copies of the letter in both languages to be stamped and witnessed by the official there that it was indeed Barbara who was signing it. But, they informed her that they will not certify anything written in Hebrew! I asked our lawyer if the Bank will accept this (i.e. English only) and they agreed (phew!) But, when she went to the Embassy they would not give her the witnessed copies, but charged a fee to send them to her by hand delivery with a notary certification.
They promised delivery within four working days, but when they didn’t arrive after a week she called and the person who answered asked her for the locator number. When she said she didn’t have one, she said “That’s strange, hold on,” and she went away for a few minutes and came back on-line and said “Oh, I found the envelope on my desk, they weren’t sent”! When Barbara complained she said “You’re rude,” so Barbara replied “what about an apology for not doing your job!” She promised to send them the next day, but they arrived a week later. Then Barbara sent them to me by registered mail.
It arrived within a week and then I went to the Benleumi Branch in Beer Sheva to have the manager witness my signature on another copy of the same letter (the manager was retiring that day, but he found someone else to witness it) and then it was hand-delivered to our lawyer in Netanya, who took it to the Manageress of the Bank branch in Netanya. It took a few days and then their legal department approved the release of the funds. Finally the funds were transferred today and account was closed.
Note that half of the money went into Naomi’s account, and the other half Barbara requested to go into my a/c. So the whole process was in fact futile, since I will ultimately be the executor of all the money. After all the expenses that were incurred by Millie are refunded, and her former carer (metapelet) is paid her severance fees, and the lawyer is paid, the total amount left for each daughter is relatively small. Hardly worth the ridiculous, unfeeling, bureaucratic stupidity that was involved. If the Bank manager had released the money to me when I first presented him with the will in the first case, over a year of expensive legalistic nonsense would have been avoided, but with the same outcome.
PS. Chag Pesach sameach to all my loyal readers