Thai Will and Succession

A Thai Will is a document that stipulates how you want your assets to be distributed after death. It will identify the legal heirs.

In the event that you do not leave a Will, succession will be determined according to statutory inheritance law (Book VI of the Civil and Commercial Code). This can lead to added expenses for your heirs.

Intestacy

Intestacy describes the condition where a deceased person dies without having made a valid will or binding declaration. The estate of the deceased person is governed by intestacy law or laws of succession and distribution.

In most common-law countries, property passes first or in major part to a spouse, then to children and their descendants; if there are no children, then to siblings and their descendants, and so on up the line of descent to more remote degrees of kinship. Intestacy laws vary from country to country.

In Thailand, the law governing inheritance is codified in Chapter V of the Civil and Commercial Code. H&P assists testators and their families residing in Thailand to make Thai wills that comply with the Thai inheritance laws and secure their legal rights in case of their death and succession. Our Thai lawyers also assist the family of the foreign nationals who have passed away in Thailand to enforce their legal rights in the property registered with the Land Department and other assets in Thailand.

Testate Succession

A will can modify a person’s statutory inheritance rights by disposing of all or a portion of his estate. Generally, the spouse takes half of the estate and any other heirs are distributed according to classes established by law (section 1630).

The testator may also wish to provide substitutional gifts in case one or more bene fi ficiaries predecease him. The historic rule is that a lapsed legacies and devises become ineffective and property affected passes by intestacy or under a residuary clause.

The testator is referred to as the “testator” or “testatrix.” A testatrix must be at least 15 years old and be capable of making a will. It is also possible for a foreigner with assets in Thailand to make a will that designates the laws of Thailand as governing the succession of her (Thailand) estate. However, a foreign will cannot supersede the testamentary dispositions in a Thai will. For this reason, it is important for those who plan their estates to work with experienced lawyers.

Transfer of Property

It is always wise to make a will in Thailand and to include details of all your assets in Thailand. This will prevent unnecessary complications and quarrels between heirs at the time of your death. These can include property, cars, jewelry, cash, shares in a public or private limited company and other personal valuables.

Upon your death, your estate (assets) will be distributed according to the stipulations of your will or the law of intestate succession. A Will can be amended at any time through a codicil.

Alternatively, property can be transferred as a gift, which does not require any monetary consideration but still carries with it certain inheritance taxes and other fees. Estate planning focuses on determining the best way to structure your legal assets and how to legally minimize tax obligations. A professional lawyer can assist you with this process. This includes drafting a will that complies with Thai laws and meets your objectives.

Probate

In Thailand probate is the legal process by which an individual’s estate is transferred to their heirs. It is a process that is supervised by the courts to project the wishes of the decedent and comply with Thai laws.

In order to avoid complications and to ensure that your family receives what you want them to get it is essential to make a Thai Will. A good lawyer will work with you to structure your assets and wills in a manner that meets your specific needs and complies with the law.

For foreigners who own a property in Thailand and other assets outside of the country it is advisable to have a legal Thai Will to cover their Thai assets. This will help prevent any conflict with a valid foreign will that might not be enforceable in Thailand. In such cases a lawyer may suggest including a limited jurisdiction clause in the foreign will. This will also assist in ensuring that the property and assets are disposed of quickly after death.

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