February 14, 2024

Will and Succession in Thailand

If a person dies without leaving a legal Will, their estate will be passed onto relatives according to the Civil and Commercial Code (CCC). The surviving spouse is considered a statutory heir as long as they have been legally married.

However, the distribution is determined by probate courts. This can lead to disputes and family conflicts.

A Will is a legal document that sets out your wishes for the disposal of your property after death.

Estate planning is the process of preparing for your eventual death by structuring your assets and drafting a will that will comply with Thai inheritance law. It generally involves a lawyer and client working together to determine the best way to structure legal assets and minimize tax obligations.

A Will can help you pass on your property to family members in the order you wish. In Thailand this can include your spouse, children, parents, siblings (half and full blood), and other relatives. You can also include a charity or other organisation that you wish to benefit.

Foreigners who are closely connected to Thailand (for example those that have their habitual residence in Thailand and are married to a Thai national) should make a Will to cover their assets in Thailand. This Will could include a limited jurisdiction clause which would restrict its application to their assets in Thailand only. This would avoid conflict with a valid will made in their home country.

It can save your family significant legal costs and stress after your death.

A lawyer will work with you to structure your assets and heirs in a way that meets your objectives and complies with Thai law. The result will be a legal process that will not be costly or complicated for your family after your death.

A Will can include a detailed inventory of all your local and overseas assets in Thailand including property, cars, jewelery, cash at the bank, shares in public or private limited companies, etc. The Will should also contain a limited jurisdiction clause limiting its application to the assets located in Thailand.

In the absence of a Will, the distribution of the estate will be determined according to statutory inheritance laws (Book V of the Civil and Commercial Code). This could lead to added expenses for your family and may cause conflicts between your relatives. In the case of a married couple, the survivor’s spouse is the first rank heir. Heirs in classes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (half-blood sisters, full blood brothers or sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles) will inherit in order of their relationship with the deceased.

It can protect your assets from creditors.

A Will can protect your assets from creditors by ensuring that your property is transferred to heirs outside of the probate process. In addition, a Will can help to minimize taxes and fees associated with inheritance.

H&P assists foreigners residing in Thailand and their families to make Thai wills that comply with Thai law governing succession and inheritance. The process is supervised by the courts to ensure that the testator’s wishes are accurately projected and that the legal rights of the deceased family members are safeguarded.

If a person dies in Thailand without leaving a Will the estate is distributed according to statutory Thai inheritance law (Book V Succession). Heirs are designated as one of six classes including descendants, half-blood brothers and sisters, full blood brothers and sisters, grandparents and aunts and uncles. Generally, the spouse takes the most portion of the estate. If there are no heirs then the entire estate passes to the state.

It can avoid conflict and confusion after your death.

Having your Will drawn up and filed in Thailand will ensure that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. It will also help your family avoid legal pitfalls and minimise tax liabilities. An experienced lawyer can help you make a will that meets all of the requirements in Thailand, including listing all assets and beneficiaries.

If you die without a will in Thailand, your assets will be divided based on the laws of intestate succession. This may result in conflict and confusion among your family members. In addition, your estate will be subject to estate and transfer taxes.

Intestacy may also be partial, such as when the deceased does not dispose of all his properties in Thailand. In this case, the remaining assets will be inherited by the statutory heirs in accordance with Thai law. In such a situation, the spouse will inherit half of the property (depending on what class of heirs they are in). This is assuming that there was a legal and registered marriage.

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