Last Will and Testament Thailand: What You Need to Know
If you have not created a last will and testament, you should consult an estate lawyer about doing so. The last will and testament Thai-based document will protect your assets after you die and ensure their proper allocation.
Do you live in Thailand or is your spouse from Thailand? Perhaps you own Thai real estate or wish to retire in Thailand. If so, you should create a Last Will and Testament Thailand-based document. Doing so will make it easier for your loved ones to gain access to your property or assets after you die.
What the Law in Thailand Says
The law in Thailand, under Sections 1629 and 1630 of the Civil and Commercial Code, specifies that a spouse is entitled to 50% of the assets in the marriage, with the remainder of the property divided between the spouse and children. If the heir is not of sound mind or a minor, the Court will appoint a guardian or executor, if one has not been already assigned. Should no living relatives exist, and no Will has been created, the estate reverts to the state.
Whether you have a Will or not, your survivors will need to secure legal services so probate proceedings can be prepared. If you write a Will yourself in your own language, your heirs will still need to have the document translated into the Thai language. You can find templates online that include both English and Thai on the forms. While the Will does not need notarization, it still needs to be witnessed by two people. You can also register the legal document at a Thai district office. Just make sure, again, you have the document translated to Thai if you write it in English.
In most, if not all, cases, it just makes good sense to use a reputable Thailand legal firm when you are creating your Thailand Last Will and Testament. Doing so will ensure that everything will be covered when preparing the Will and that the assets and property will be distributed to the proper beneficiaries. By obtaining the services of a legal advisor, you avoid any problems or legal loopholes that will force the document to go to the Probate Court.
Also, remember: the ink color you use to add your signature should always be in blue. Scanned documents will show the signatures of signers who use blue ink. Black ink or another color will not show up or become distorted.
When you create a Last Will and Testament Thailand form, you will need to gather and organize your list of beneficiaries. You will need their contact information, including their names, phone numbers, physical addresses, and emails. You will also need the contact details for your executor and a backup executor if the first-named executor cannot serve.
In addition, you will need to gather asset information, including bank account details. Make sure you specify which assets go to whom. Even if you are just allocating assets to one beneficiary, you need to have an asset list prepared.
Thai Will Signing
Your Last Will and Testament include 2 adult witnesses to your will. While you can appoint a beneficiary to your Will as executor, they cannot be a witness. The witnesses you choose should be of sound mind and cannot be deaf, mute, or blind.
It is important to list the assets you wish to distribute in your Last Will and Testament to ensure that your beneficiaries receive what you want them to have. An asset is defined as anything of value, including a real estate investment, money in a savings or checking account, or a vehicle. Any local assets you include are those in Thailand, not outside of the country.
If you currently are the leaseholder of real estate, the lease will terminate upon your death. While an inheritance clause can be added to a lease, it is not legally binding. However, if you are a foreigner and own a building in Thailand, it can be passed on to your heirs.
What the Thai Law Says about Condos and Land
If you own a condo, it can be passed to an heir, as long as the court recognizes that you qualify for condominium ownership under Section 19 of the Condominium Act. However, if the condo is given to an heir by way of a Will, it must be sold within one year of its receipt. Also, a foreign beneficiary can also inherit land but still must sell it within a year from receiving it.
If any inherited land is not sold within the time frame of a year, the Director-General of the Land Department in Thailand will sell the real estate and assess a 5% fee before taxes or deductions.
Shares in a company in Thailand cannot be transferred to heirs. They belong to the company, rather than to a foreign shareholder or director. If you die with shares in a company, a meeting must be called to appoint a new director. Shares in the company are transferred to a new shareholder at Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce.
When allocating assets, it is important to recognize that any joint bank account with your spouse will go to your spouse. Remember, as well, that if an account is not a joint account, it will be frozen upon the owner’s death. Therefore, to ensure that your spouse has access, you should always make your bank account a joint account.
Creating New Thai Will for Overseas Assets
Besides, bank accounts and real estate, you will need to list other property in your Will, such as a vehicle or car and its license plate information. In addition, be forewarned that a Thai Probate Court only manages assets in Thailand. If you have assets overseas, you need to create another Last Will and Testament and list them in the document. This will be far easier for your heirs as well as for anyone who is legally involved in the paperwork.
When it comes to appointing an executor, make sure he or she is someone you can really trust. They should be someone who understands the legal intricacies of probate and Last Will and Testament Thailand distributions. Also, the executor should be younger than you. You can have more than one executor if you so choose.
Knowing the basics of creating a Last Will and Testament in Thailand is important. However, you also need legal assistance. Make sure you contact a lawyer who is well versed in this area of the law. Doing so will ensure that your Will is properly drawn up and that your legacy is followed and preserved.