Is a doctor allowed to be human? (Photo: ShutterStock)
Relationships are, by nature, personal matters whose details are not known to other people, but in the family courts, personal occurrences that are not necessarily standard are revealed every day.
Such is the case discussed in the judgment of Judge Erez Shani from the Family Court in Tel Aviv and which dealt with a special close relationship that existed between a doctor and a nurse and their patient.
After the patient passed away, it turned out that she left a will in which she bequeathed all her property to the doctor and the nurse, in equal shares between them.
The deceased's only daughter filed an objection and demanded that the deceased's prior will, which was signed almost 20 years before and in which she was determined to be the sole heir, be held, claiming that the last will was flawed that did not allow its existence, and also that at the time of its signing, the deceased's mother was not legally competent to do so and did so only due to unfair influence on the part of the doctor.
"Assistance or degree of Hasidicism is not undue influence"
The claims about the defects in the will, as well as the claims about the deceased's lack of fitness for the team, were examined and rejected in the well-detailed verdict, in the manner of the second judge who also reviewed and examined the relationship that existed between the deceased and the doctor.
This system was defined by the second judge as "a relationship that was a little beyond an acceptable relationship between a doctor and a patient" and this considering not only the scope of the meetings, but also because in court it turned out that the doctor lived in an apartment that he rented from the deceased. However, it also turned out that the doctor's clinic
was very close to the deceased's place of residence, and that the deceased definitely found a listening ear in the doctor, and in any case did not suffer from any difficulty in mobility or independence and even visited other doctors.
The second judge did not ignore the fact that this is not just a friend, but a doctor, and in this matter he stated that "although we are dealing with nursing/medical professionals who can easily be considered to be in a position where they would cause a needy person to a certain extent to develop dependence on assistance, in this case no indication of the dependence of the deceased in which of them during the period when the will was drawn up, contrary to the fact that the deceased was helped by which of them, both for treatment, for daily activities of one kind or another, and for society";
Although the court's impression was that the nurse "had a real presence in the deceased's daily routine" still, in light of an analysis of additional facts about the circumstances of the deceased's life and character, the second judge came to the conclusion that there was no unfair influence and even established a rule according to which "assistance or degree of Hasidicism are not an unfair influence".
It is not possible for any professional who shows empathy to be considered a hostile party.
Attorney Daniel Frydenberg and Ohad Hoffman (Photo: Yael Cohen)
Attorneys Daniel Frydenberg and Ohad Hoffman from the "Hoffman & Frydenberg" law firm, who specialize in family and inheritance matters, explain that "this is an important ruling that sets a clear boundary between friendships created on the basis of professional acquaintance and the possibility that these will serve as a basis for claims of unfair influence. It is not possible that Any professional who shows empathy and helps in a humane way those who turn to him, will be considered in the future as a hostile factor that will interfere with the fulfillment of his free will," explain attorney Friedenberg and Hoffman. "Such a determination will lead to social chaos - anyone who wants to extend help and show humanity will refrain from doing so only because of the fear from future charges.
As in all inheritance cases, interpersonal relationships are not examined on their own, but within the overall circumstantial complex."