Testate Succession Under Thai Law
Succession is a mode of acquisition by virtue of which the properties, including their rights and obligations, of a person (the Testator) are transmitted upon death to his or her heirs, devisees and legatees. In Thailand, succession may either be testate or intestate.
Testate succession occurs when a person dies with a Thai Will naming their heirs as well as specifying the manner of the distribution of their assets. A will is an act whereby a person takes control of the disposition of their assets, subject to legal requirements, which will take effect at the time of their death. The will is likewise considered a description of the Testator’s assets and their wishes with regards to the assets’distribution. A will is drafted primarily for distribution of the Testator’s properties in the event of their death and allows the Testator to specifically instruct the distribution and designation of assets to heirs, devisees and legatees.
The Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand provides for the different types of wills that may be legally executed in the Kingdom. A will may be made through the following forms:
- A will may be made in writing, dated at the time of the making of the will and signed by the testator before at least two witnesses present at the same time who shall then and there sign their names certifying the signature of the testator.
- A will may be made in a holographic document, that is, the testator must write with his own hand, dated and signed by him.
- A will may be made by a public document, that is, the testator must declare to the Kromakarn Amphoe before at least two other persons as witnesses present at the same time what dispositions he wishes to be included in his will. It shall be then read to the testator with the presence of the witnesses and thereafter signed by them. The statement shall be noted down by the Kromakarn Amphoe, dated and signed by the latter who shall then certify under his hand and seal.
- A will may also be made by a secret document whereby the testator writes his disposition, dated, sealed, and signed by him. The sealed document must be produced before the Kromakarn Amphoe and at least two other persons as witnesses and declare to all of them that it contains his testamentary dispositions.
- An oral will may likewise be made when under exceptional circumstances such as the imminent danger of death, or during epidemic or war, a person is prevented from making his will in any other prescribed forms.
A foreigner may draft a will under the provisions of Thai Law. The will shall govern the distribution of assets in Thailand in the event of death. These assets may include real or personal properties such as condominium units, motor vehicles, personal effects, jewelleries, bank accounts and others. Whenever an expat has any significant assets in Thailand, it is strongly recommended they draft a will that accords with Thai law.
Please contact us for more information on Thai wills.
Category: Civil and Commercial Law
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