A Last Will allows you to choose your Legal Heirs and also outline specific wishes. This will save your loved ones from expensive legal battles after your death.
Under Thai Law a Will must be written by yourself and signed in front of two witnesses. If it is not, it may be declared void.
Estate planning involves arranging a legal plan to dispose of assets in the event of death. The plan is typically drafted by an attorney to meet the client’s objectives and comply with Thailand inheritance law. This may include setting up trusts, joint tenancies and share transfer agreements.
It is important for foreigners with assets in Thailand (including land, bank accounts and shares) and heirs in other countries to make a Thai will. If a person dies without a will, the state will decide who can benefit from the estate according to the laws of intestacy.
A properly drafted will allows the testator to freely designate his/her heirs. This differs from other countries’ laws which reserve a portion of the heritage for protected heirs. It is important to consult a lawyer experienced in probate and succession when drafting a Thai will. The process is supervised by the court and is designed to project the wishes of the testator while complying with Thai laws.
A Thai will should be written and signed, with the testator and at least one witness, in the presence of an official Kromakarn Amphoe. This is the most secure form of a will in Thailand and makes it more difficult to contest.
The testator can choose his or her heirs and specify the distribution of their inheritance. This is called testate succession. In contrast, if a person dies without a will (intestate) the state decides who will benefit from their estate. The surviving spouse is considered a statutory heir and is entitled to a share of the estate depending on their agreement.
Having a legal will in place means that your wishes are respected soon after your death and can avoid family disputes. It also helps to speed up probate and the process of transferring your property to your heirs. This can save time and money in the long run. This is especially important for foreigners who own real estate in Thailand.
When a person dies without a will, the state will determine who inherits the property. This process is called probate. The court will try to balance the interests of the deceased and the genuine heirs. The law also seeks to safeguard the property of the deceased and the creditors of the estate.
In Thailand, if you want to transfer or inherit any assets you must file a petition with the court. The request will require you to present a large number of documents. You must also be physically present in Thailand or appoint a lawyer whom you can trust - all the documents will need to be authenticated and translated into Thai.
A proper will lets you choose your heirs and clearly outlines your wishes. If you have properties in both Thailand and your home country, it is advisable to make separate wills. You can also own land in Thailand through usufruct, similar to a life estate.
When someone passes away in Thailand their property and assets must be allocated to the heirs as stipulated in their Thai Will or the law on Intestate Succession if there is no will. This is the time when a good lawyer who understands inheritance laws is essential.
Inheritance law (Clauses 1599 and 1633 of the Civil and Commercial Code) stipulate that an estate administrator must manage, protect, distribute and handle inherited property according to specific rules. This includes preparing the estate list, arranging the funeral and settling any debts.
When it comes to a foreigner who inherits land or other immovable property in Thailand, the process and details can be complicated. It is advisable that the foreigner makes 2 Wills; one for their home country and a separate Thai Will. In this way it is easier to have their wishes complied with. They can also avoid paying double inheritance tax. A Will can be written in a foreign language but must follow Thai law.