After I Purchase Property in Thailand, Should I make a Thai Will?
If you purchase property in Thailand, including a condominium, long term lease or shares in a Thai registered corporation, be sure that your estate plan takes your new property into account.
Thai law provides that the succession to your immovable property in Thailand is governed by Thai law, so if you own a condo or land freehold it will pass via Thai succession laws unless you have a Thai will.
The Thai law provides that your estate will pass to your statutory heirs unless you have a valid will stating otherwise. The Thai law also provides that if you are competent to draft a will in the country of your nationality, you may do so according to the law of the country of your nationality or the country where your will is made.
If you do not draft a will, Thai law provides that if you are married, half of your estate will go to your spouse. The remainder of your estate will pass to your heirs in the following order:
- Brothers and sisters of full blood;
- Brothers and sisters of half blood;
- Grandfathers and grandmothers; and
- Uncles and aunts.
If you have no living relatives at the time of your death, your estate will pass to the government. In other words, if you are married with two children, half of your estate will go to your wife and one quarter will go to each of your children.
A long term lease and shares in a Thai company are technically movable property. It is important to note that leases do not survive the death of the parties by default. Any 30-year lease should have a succession clause.
Thai law provides that the succession to movable property is governed by the domicile of the decedent at the time of death. Thus, if you are an expatriate domiciled in Thailand, you will need a Thai will for your movable property also. If you maintain a domicile in another country, you may choose to pass your movable property with a will made according to the laws of that country. However, you should be aware that even a foreign will needs to be executed in the Thai court with a local executor to handle the distribution of the Thai assets. A Thai will, covering your assets in Thailand, is often easier to enforce.
You may choose to make a will of limited jurisdiction that only governs the rights to your property in Thailand and have another will in your home country governing the distribution of any other goods. Typically upon the death of a foreigner in Thailand, the government officer will ask the family for a copy of the will. Having a will drafted in your home country to cover assets in Thailand may be problematic and burdensome to your family as documents will need to be translated, notarized and approved by a government body. If you have any ownership interest in real property in Thailand or significant movable assets, it is a good idea to draft a Thai will.
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Siam Legal is an international law firm with experienced lawyers, attorneys, and solicitors both in Thailand law and international law. This Thailand law firm offers comprehensive legal services in Thailand to both local and foreign clients for Litigation such as civil & criminal cases, labor disputes, commercial cases, divorce, adoption, extradition, fraud, and drug cases. Other legal expertise of the law firm varied in cases involving corporate law such as company registration & Thailand BOI, family law, property law, and private investigation.