Friday, 18 September 2015

Joint Bank Accounts in Israel: Be Aware....

So you've made Aliyah with your spouse - or perhaps you've just got married in Israel and you're all set to saving your money. You'll need a bank account. You'll probably ask friends and family (who may not actually know the legal ramifications of anything banking wise) what type of account to open. Newly weds often debate the pros and cons of having a joint bank account. One is so used to one's own account, that one feels it's the way to go. Others might encourage you to give way and show your commitment to marriage by having a joint bank account. Should you choose separate accounts, people who find out may feel the right to pressure you saying you or your spouse has something to hide - as if to say that once one is married, one should feel that one's own money is just as much one's spouses as it is one's own - and therefore having a separate account seems to indicate some sort of disloyalty to the spouse.

One may well feel pressured to take a direction one had not ever thought of doing before. Banking in Israel is probably not the same as it is it in other parts of the world. Due to this, it's vital to understand some very important points which - by the way - your bank manager and bank client-relations representative will never tell you. In fact, just at about the time you're ready to open the account, you'll probably find over 50 pages of documentation you'll need to sign. When you ask what it's about, you will just be told to sign the pages (and who knows what will happen afterwards!) Should you inquire as to the better type of account i.e. separate or joint - you will not be informed of anything - but will rather be met with a stare and a pen being handed to you.

In fact, there are some vital points every Israeli needs to be clear about. It seems that even after years after making Aliyah - there are new things one finds out about only much later - things one wishes one knew when one had made Aliyah - "Why didn't they just tell me it should be done this way?!"

A case in point concerns the joint bank account in Israel and a particularly dangerous part of it. Be warned before opening one - so that you can protect yourself from the start! Here's the thing: Your account is open, money is being deposited and accumulating regularly (only of course if you have a job that secures you more than minimum wage.) The account is doing nicely - and sadly one of the spouses dies. For those with all their money in one account, this can be devastating in terms of the legal ramifications. Immediately, save for essential urgent and immediate expenses, the Israeli bank will freeze the account and you will have no access to it at all!

Solution: Before opening the account, make certain that a clause is put into the documentation giving permission for the other spouse to make use of the funds should the other spouse pass on. It's really as simple as that. The banking clerk could easily tell you this and save everyone much aggravation - but as is often the case - it's up to the individual to know the correct way of doing things and to take the initiative. Wherever possible, when involving oneself in any sort of important legal undertaken - make sure to get as much helpful and necessary real advice - in order to make the best of informed decisions in Israel.

Tzvi Szjanbrum - a practising attorney at law, shares this point in the video below. Share this post with your family and friends, and help them to be better informed about the joint bank account in Israel and a hidden danger that lies behind it. Share our entire blog - and help your friends and family learn more about life in Israel, legal points, difficulties, challenges and the happy moments too!

This post was prepared for you
by Eliyahu Shear
Torah Learning Online and Acts of Lovingkindness

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