The spouse or close relative of someone who is no longer able to manage his/her own affairs may request to appoint a legal guardian for that person
Target audience and prerequisites
- A guardian may be appointed for:
- Someone declared to be legally incompetent by a court of law.
- A minor who is under the age of 18 and whose parents have either died, been declared legally incompetent, or are not capable of fulfilling their parental duties. For more information see Guardianship of Children.
- An adult with special needs is unable to manage his/her own affairs. For more information see guardianship for adults with special needs
- An elderly person who is not able to care for him/herself or make decisions for him/herself. For more information see guardianship for an elderly person
- A person who is hospitalized and has been examined and found to be incapable of expressing an opinion regarding a medical procedure to be performed on him/her. For more information see Appointing a Guardian for a Patient.
Submitting an Appointment Request
- A request for guardianship may be submitted by a spouse, parent, or other family member, as well as by the government legal advisor or his/her representative.
- A written request must be submitted to the Family Courts in whose jurisdiction the ward is located.
- For Muslims, the request is submitted to a Sharia court.
Details that need to be included in the request
- The name, address and ID (teudat zehut) number of the ward and his/her first degree family members that are known to the person submitting the request.
- Reasons as to why there is a need to appoint a guardian, including specific issues that the guardian will deal with and the amount of time the appointment is requested for.
- The opinion of the ward, or the reason the ward's opinion can not be represented if the ward is unable to express his/her stand on the situation.
- The details of the potential ward's first degree relatives, as known to the requester, as well as the opinions of these relatives on the appointment. (The requester must use reasonable effort to get this information.)
- If the requester proposes a specific person to be appointed as the guardian, his/her name and address should also be included in the request.
Documents to be included with the request
- A request form with details of those requesting to be guardians in addition to details regarding the ward and a detailed explanation of the request. According to the form, one may request guardianship over a body only, over an estate only, or over both body and estate.
- If the applicant requests a specific person to be the guardian, written consent from the proposed guardian should be included with the request and should include the number of people he/she is a guardian for that are not family members.
- An affidavit, approved by a court’s attorney/court secretary, which verifies the facts which are detailed in the request. The affidavit should note whether, to the best of the applicant's knowledge, a permanent power of attorney,instructions for the appointment of a guardian or any other expression of desire, have been prepared or registered in the power of attorney registry. You must affix 48 NIS worth of income stamps to the affidavit. .
- For a person over age 18: a professional opinion from a psychiatrist or family doctor detailing the ward’s status and referring to the question of if the ward is/is not capable of fully/partially managing his/her own affairs, in addition to the extent to which the ward understands the meaning of the guardianship. If a ward is unable to express his/her opinion regarding the guardianship, this should be indicated in detail. (The court may request the professional opinion of a specific specialist such as a neurologist or psychiatrist but for the initial request the signature of a family doctor is sufficient.)
- A social worker’s opinion may be attached.
- First degree relatives of the ward (parents, siblings, and children above age 18 and their spouses) who are not requesting to be a guardian, must sign a form giving consent to the requesting guardian. (see the end of the document) This must be signed in the presence of a lawyer/welfare officer/court secretary.
- If there are first degree relatives that oppose the appointment of the guardian,and/or are not willing to sign the consent form, their names and information should be submitted with the request, listing them as respondents to it. (In addition to the legal counsel appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs who serves as the respondent to all such appointments.)
- In urgent situations that require the appointment of a guardian to approve medical interventions, specialist opinions are needed (for more information
How to submit the request and fees
- Four copies of the request and all accompanying documentation should be prepared, and if there are additional respondents besides the court appointed legal counsel (as discussed above) an additional copy should be made for each of them.
- The forms, as well as guidance in how to fill them out, may be found at the Family Courts.
- Initiating this process requires payment of a fee of 477 NIS (as of September 2018) to the court and 48 NIS for the affidavit in the presence of a court’s attorney.
- In order to verify the fees and number of copies required to submit, it is advised to call the national information center (077-2703333) before submitting the request.
Exemption from court fees
- Someone who is unable to pay the court fees can fill out and submit a request form and affidavit for the exemption of fees along with the appointment request. (These found can also be found by the court secretary.)
- The request and affidavit should include assets and income details. If the applicant is dependent on his/her parents then information regarding their assets should be provided.
- One who is employed should attach the last 6 pay slips or a different form of proof of income.
- One who is unemployed should submit confirmation from the National Insurance Institute that he/she receives an unemployment pension or a different form that proves his/her income.
- 4 copies of the request should be submitted.
- For more information you can call the national information center at 077-270-3333
Approval of the Request and Court Discretion
- If a professional opinion from a social worker was not submitted in advance, the court will contact the Ministry of Social Affairs to arrange an evaluation of the applicant and the ward. In these cases, a social worker will visit the ward’s home in order to evaluate the extent to which guardianship is necessary, as well as the proposed guardians’ suitability for the task.
- Upon recieving the request the court will check whether a permanent power of attorney,instructions for the appointment of a guardian or any other expression of desire, have been prepared or registered in the registry.
- If a permanent power of attorney has been appointed then consent is needed from the appointed person for this appointment and if there are instructions for the appointment of a guardian or any other documenting expressing desire the guardian mentioned in those documents should be included in this process.
Conditions for accepting the request to appoint a guardian
- The court will only accept the request to appoint a guardian if the following conditions are met:
- If a guardian is not appointed the ward's rights, interests and needs may be damaged.
- The necessary goal for which the guardian is being appointed to achieve for the well being of the ward can not be met in a different way that is limiting in the rights, freedom and independence of the person.
- Appointment of a guardian for a person that is capable of making his/her own decisions about his/herself may only be done if the following conditions are met:
- The person may be capable of making his/own decisions but are not capable of caring about making them.
- The court got the impression that there are special circumstances such that no one will be willing to aid the person without the appointment of a guardian.
- In such cases the court will give specific instructions regarding the role and authority of the guardian and the guardian does not have the authority to make a decision on behalf of the ward if it is against his/her will.
Giving the order and limiting the violation of choice of the person who has a guardian appointed upon him/her
- After the request has been reviewed, a court has heard from the ward (if his/her condition allows), the applicant has been found to be most suitable for the role, and approval has been obtained from the government's attorney general, an order approving the guardians appointment will be issued. A copy of the order and the decision will be kept with the Administrator General.
- Do the best of its ability the court should limit the violations of the ward's liberty when it appoints a guardian:
- The court must give a detailed decision including what it took into account when the making the decision as well as which specific things the guardian will have authority over and how long the guardianship will last for.
- To the best of its ability, the court should try and minimize the issues for which the guardian has authority over to include only the reasons the guardian was appointed in the first place and not have authority in other areas.
- The court should establish the shortest possible period of guardianship necessary to achieve the goals for which a short term guardian was appointed for.
- In the guardianship order, the court may give specific directions regarding the actions of the guardian as well as give conditions and limitations on the guardian's actions.
- If the court is appointing a guardian on an adult, the court must state whether that person was at the request hearing and should list which issue, or issues, from the following list the guardian is appointed to deal with:
- A specific issue or issues decided by the court.
- Medical issues
- Personal issues
- Property issues
- The court should appoint as a guardian the person it determines is most suitable for the good of the ward, taking into account the wishes of the ward.
- When a ward is an adult with special needs, the request should be submitted near the date he/she turns 18 years old.
- Due to the fact that the process takes a long time, it is recommended to attach a request to be appointed a temporary guardian until the court’s final decision is given.
- There are other options aside from appointing a guardian, that may incur less violations on the liberty and independence of the individual. For more information see Decision Supporter and Continued Power of Attorney.
- The Ministry of Justice
- The Guardian General - The legal advisor's representative for all issues related to guardianship
- Family Courts
- The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services
Laws and Regulations
- The Legal Competency and Guardianship Law - sections 33, 33a, and 35.
- Legal Competency and Guardianship Regulations (Procedure and Execution)
- Family Court Regulations (fees)
- The Association of Law in the Service of the Elderly
- The Association for Civil Rights in Israel
- Yad Riva
- The MARAP Clinic - Law, Medicine and Psychiatry
- Clinic for Children and Youth Rights at the Hebrew University
- ALUT's Association for Custody for People with Autism
- List of Corporate Guardianships on the Administrator General and Official Receiver website.
- Guardianship Guide - A (free) online digital course given by the Ministry of Justice, the Administrator General and Israel Digital
- Original translation performed by The Shira Pransky Project as part of a grant from The Fellowship Fund.