Drafting Last Will and Testament
It is strongly recommended that you have a Last Will & Testament prepared in both your home country and in Thailand. It is not a pleasant thought to think of your demise. However you should plan in advance regarding your estate so the affairs are in order in the unfortunate event of your passing. The last thing you want to do is cause additional stress to your family during this period. Your property in Thailand becomes of value once you sign the contract and make an initial payment; hence even before the transfer of the property you will have an asset to consider for your estate planning.
Siam Legal provides legal services for drafting of a Thai Will. The document will detail your assets in Thailand, such as property, bank accounts, vehicle, and personal items. Typically upon the death of a foreigner in Thailand, the government officer will ask the family for a copy of a Will or they will seek the deceased person's lawyer for this document. Having a Will drafted in your home country to cover assets in Thailand may be problematic and burdensome to your family as documentations will need to be translated, notarized and approved by a government body. We recommend a separate Will for your assets in Thailand.
Check out the Frequently Asked Questions about estate planning and succession in Thailand.
Drafting a Thai Will for Properties in Thailand or Abroad
Thai Will and Estate planning is not something we like to think about. What Happens Upon Your Demise? This is certainly not something we would like to think about but it is important to have good estate planning to ensure your loved ones are taken care of should you finally pass away. If there is no Thai will prepared, the intestate's assets must be distributed in accordance with the classes of relations as stipulated in the CCC Section 1629 which are, in order of priority:
- brothers and sisters of full blood;
- brothers and sisters of half blood;
- grandfathers and grandmothers;
- uncles and aunts.
Before any distribution of the estate to the relatives, half of the estate, known as Sin Somros, will belong to the spouse, if any.
The rest will be equally distributed accordingly. If there are no living relations and no Thai will, the estate will devolve on to the State. As such, we do strongly recommend making a Thai Will to cover all of your properties and assets in Thailand. For those who own land under a company on a freehold basis, upon your demise your property would not simply be passed on to your heirs. Instead, it would be passed on in the form of shares. In the other words, your heir will receive shares of the company as opposed to the actual property itself which can involve complex legal mechanisms. It is therefore imperative that you arrange for the drafting of a Thai will.
Leasehold and Your Thai Will
For those who acquired a property under a leasehold structure, it is worth mentioning that a lease is a personal right which is not attached to the property per se and essentially terminates when the lessee dies. Therefore, if you make a renewable long term lease and have already paid the rental in advance, you should also ensure that there is a succession clause in the lease contract so as to allow you to transfer your right of the lease to your heir. Nevertheless, you should still have a Thai Will which states your clear intention to pass on such rights to your loved ones.
There are a lot of things that can happen to your property if you are not aware of your legal rights in Thailand. The entire process can become quite a tangled web and at times, very costly if certain precautions are not taken early on. One of the major concerns in any property acquisition is the minimization of risk and the security of your investment. This is even more important when you purchase properties outside of your own jurisdiction where communication can also serve as a severe impediment to your objectives. A valid Thai will eliminates much of the risk. It is always wise to seek some professional advice from a trusted professional that looks out for your interest and understands your needs.
Siam Legal has professional Thai lawyers and foreign lawyers and solicitors who can help you prepare your will ensuring that your properties will be going to your chosen beneficiaries should the unexpected happens. Call us now or drop by at our office for initial consultation on drafting your will in Thailand.