Thai Will and Succession

If you own property or assets in Thailand, or have heirs living abroad, you should consider drafting a Thai Will. This will save your heirs a lot of hassle and extra expenses after your death.

Without a Will, your estate will be governed by intestate succession (defined in Book VI of the Civil and Commercial Code). Your spouse, descendants and statutory heirs (brothers and sisters of full blood, parents, uncles and aunts) are entitled to inherit.

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document which states your wishes regarding the disposal of your property after death. You can include all of your local assets such as houses, bank accounts and vehicles. This also includes life insurance proceeds.

You can also state who you would like to arrange your funeral if that is your wish. If not specified, then the executor of your estate will have this responsibility. If there is no executor then the person who receives the largest portion of your estate (either by Will or statutory inheritance) will be responsible for arranging your funeral.

For people who spend a lot of time in Thailand, are married to a Thai national or have assets in the country then making a will is very important. Without one, the rules of intestacy set out in clauses 1599 – 1609 of the Civil and Commercial Code will apply. This could result in your family having to pay a substantial amount of inheritance tax.

What happens if I die intestate?

In Thailand, as in most countries, when a person dies without a Will the law decides who will inherit their property and assets. This is called “forced heirship.”

For example, if you own a house with your spouse under joint ownership, it will pass to them upon your death. If you do not make a Will and your spouse is the only legal heir, they will receive half of the estate. The remaining half will be shared equally between the deceased’s children or legally appointed heirs.

Inheritance can be a complex issue, particularly for those living abroad. A well-drafted will can minimise difficulties and expenses that may arise. This will include the selection of an administrator (if needed) and heirs as well as providing for Trusts and Legacies. A good Thai Lawyer can assist with this for a moderate fee. They can also help with registering foreign assets in Thailand to avoid probate and ensure proper succession.

How can I make a Will in Thailand?

If you wish to leave jewelry cash legacies or other personal items to relatives and friends in Thailand it is best to have a written Will prepared. This can be handwritten or typed and must be signed by you as the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses who are aware that this is your last Will and Testament.

A Thai Will allows you to decide who should inherit your property and clearly states what your wishes are. It also sets out funeral requirements such as cremation or burial. It can prevent family members from arguing over how your assets should be allocated.

You cannot place illegal or immoral conditions to inherit in a Will in Thailand so it is always advisable to get proper legal advice before drafting your Will. This will ensure that the court upholds your wishes. It can also help reduce the time it takes for your estate to be distributed after death.

What is the cost of making a Will in Thailand?

Many foreigners in Thailand do not give any thought at all to drafting a Will. But a simple and inexpensive Will can save your family and loved ones a lot of stress, time, expense, and heartache after your death.

A Will specifies your legal heirs and stipulates how you wish your assets to be divided upon your death. If you do not have a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the law of succession as set forth in Book VI of the Civil and Commercial Code. This means that your spouse would inherit half of community property; children, if any, get the remainder of the inheritance; and statutory heirs such as parents, siblings, and half-brothers and sisters, if any.

A Will should also contain details of funeral arrangements, jewelry and cash legacies (if any) as well as appointing guardians for minor children. It should be dated, signed by two witnesses who cannot be beneficiaries and registered with the local district office.

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