However, we put it. Last Will and Testaments are not things we like to think about, but as mortality is a part of our life, namely the end of it, we have to consider it. Or we ignore it and our beloved pay the consequences. But let’s cut it short.
It is important, to plan the settlement of your estate/assets to assure that that the legacy goes to the people we love most. This is especially important if there is property involved as it is with many foreigners who choose to live in Thailand.
In such cases it is important not only to make a will in your home country. It is equally important to make a last will in Thailand as the legal requirements in every country are different. It is more practical and easier to enforce. If your Last Will is drafted by an experienced lawyer here in Thailand, you can be assured that there will be no problems with your legacy. We provide you another article Step by step to make a Last will & Testament in Thailand to be considered when you want to make one.
What kind of last will do they use in Thailand?
There are 3 different kinds of Thai last wills which are interesting for foreigners:
1. Valid witness Wills (CCC 1656)
2. Holographic Wills (handwritten) (CCC 1657)
3. Wills as a public document (CCC1658/1659)
If I do not have a Thai last will what will happen to my property if I die?
Thai law is quite clear in this case. Your property/ assets will be distributed according with article 1629 Civil Commercial Code:
3. Brothers and sisters of full blood
4. Sisters and brothers of half blood
5. Grandfathers and grandmothers
6. Uncles and aunts
The surviving spouse is a special case. From everything which was acquired after the marriage, she/he will receive 50 % (dissolution of marriage by death). The other 50% will be distributed as follows;
1. She/he will receive the same share as the kids (1)
2. If there are no children but sisters / brothers of full blood (3), parents (2) she/he will receive 50%
3. If there are no children (1), no sisters and brothers of full blood (3), parents(2), but half sisters/brothers (4), grandmother/fathers (5), uncles/aunts (6), she/he will receive 2/3
If there are no statuary heirs from the above-mentioned category left, then she/he will receive all of the inheritance.
In any case making a last will is certainly the better way of leaving your legacy behind as it can become quite a legal mess and costly if it is not done proper. If there are no statuary heirs and no Last Will everything will go to the Thai government.
In the case of owning land through a company your heirs would not receive the land but, shares of the company.
If your property was acquired through leasehold, please be aware, that a lease is a personal right and ends with your death. So, make sure there is a succession clause in your lease contract so your right will be passed on.
There are many things to consider if you have property in a foreign land and a valid Thai Will drafted by trusted professionals will minimize the risk and secure your investment for your heirs. You may interesting to understand about How inheritance tax law works in Thailand.
Law is improving, please contact us for further information.
Article by Frederic Retif
French Lawyer and Thai Legal Advisor