If you own property in Thailand or have heirs in your home country it is important to make a legal Thai Will. It will detail your assets in Thailand, protect your family and avoid complications after death.
When a person dies without a legal will (death intestate) the estate is handed over to probate courts that determine beneficiaries and allocate assets according to Thai law.
In Thailand a Will can save your family significant legal costs and stress after death. It allows you to identify your “Legal Heirs” and stipulate how your assets will be distributed. In the absence of a Will, succession is governed by the law laid down in Book VI of the Civil and Commercial Code. This law states that a deceased’s property will be divided amongst statutory heirs (survivor spouse; parents; children; brothers and sisters of full blood; uncles and aunts).
The only way to avoid probate is by making a Will that deals exclusively with your assets in Thailand. This will not only make your estate easier to settle but also protect your family members from expensive legal fees. It is also possible to draft a Will that is hard to contest. We can assist you to draft a Holograph Will or a Will made in front of a public authority and that complies with the requirements of Thai law.
When a person dies without a will, or with a will that does not cover all of their property (called dying intestate), their estate is handed over to probate courts to determine who receives their assets. In most cases, property goes first to surviving spouses, then to children and other relatives, according to a set of laws that vary by state. In some states, registered domestic partners are treated like spouses when it comes to inheritance rights. If no family can be found, the property reverts to the state. The exact rules are complicated and change often. Intestacy is a very difficult situation for families to endure.
Distribution of Assets
Inheritance laws require that the estate of a deceased person be protected, distributed and handled by an administrator. This is an important reason for people to make a will, and it also means that they need to consult with legal professionals to create a legal structure that will be in place when the time comes.
A will should clearly state the names and contact details of all heirs, devisees and legatees. It must be written by hand (not typed), dated and signed. It must not contain any erasures or alternation. It must be witnessed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries.
For those who have a mixed estate including property in their home country and in Thailand it is advisable to make a will in both locations. This will save a lot of time and cost in the event of their death. This is especially true if they have children and/or their spouse has a family in Thailand.
Inheritance laws are complex and it is best to have a lawyer draft a well-constructed last will that complies with Thai law. If a person dies without a Will, their property and assets are allocated to their heirs (Statutory Heirs), which are defined under Section 1599 of the Civil and Commercial Code (“CCC”). A surviving spouse is considered a statutory heir. If a person has children they will also be a heir.
A will must be in writing and signed before a witness. It must include the name and contact details of the testator, their signature and a statement that it is their will. It is important to make a will, even for foreigners who are residents of Thailand. This is to avoid a lengthy and costly legal process after your death and ensure that the inheritance you leave behind is distributed according to your wishes. Otherwise, the estate will revert to the state. A Will can be contested.