Inheritance in Thailand can be complicated. A properly drafted Thai Will by a lawyer can help minimise the difficulties.
When a person dies without a will, his assets are handed over to probate courts who determine beneficiaries and allocate his estate according to Thai inheritance law. This is known as intestate succession.
When a person dies in Thailand without making a will, statutory Thai inheritance law governs how his estate assets are distributed. The legal heirs are defined in Chapter V of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code. In most cases, the surviving spouse is considered a legal heir.
The surviving spouse may be entitled to 2/3 of the estate. If there are children, the children will be entitled to the other 1/3 of the estate. If there are siblings, the brothers and sisters of the deceased will inherit in equal shares. In most cases, if there are no other relatives, the surviving spouse is entitled to all of the estate.
Having a valid will is the best way to ensure that your property is disposed of exactly as you wish upon your death. To avoid intestacy, you should consult with a wills, trusts and estates attorney who can draft a legally enforceable will for you. A lawyer can also assist you with the probate process and administration of the estate.
Foreigners residing in Thailand have often accumulated assets, including land, in the Kingdom. Inheritance laws are complex and it is important to make a will both in your home country and in Thailand.
In the absence of a will the estate assets (including properties) will be allocated to the heirs according to Thai law. The heirs are classified into six classes: descendants; parents; brothers and sisters; half-brothers and half-sisters; grandparents; and uncles and aunties.
The spouse will receive fifty percent of the deceased’s estate assets and then the remaining assets will be distributed among the heirs. As this is a complicated process it is highly recommended that a foreigner have their will prepared by a qualified attorney in Thailand. This will not only help the heirs in accessing their inheritance but it may also help avoid litigation over the property. It will also save the heirs a lot of time and money.
A will is a legal document that specifies the heirs and their share in the testator’s property. It is the only way to ensure that a person’s property will be disposed of in accordance with his wishes after death. There are two modes of inheritance – testate and intestate.
If you die without a will, the state will inherit your assets and dispose of them as it sees fit. This can mean that your family may not get what you had hoped for.
Foreigners can make a will but if you have assets in Thailand it is important that you have one drafted by a firm that understands Thai law. This is because a valid foreign will that excludes assets in Thailand can lead to contests in court. A will drafted in Thailand by a lawyer with expertise in Thai law is more likely to hold up to challenge. In addition, a good firm can assist you in structuring your assets and estate so that they are more tax efficient in Thailand.
Currently, there is no specific Thai law supporting or regulating Trusts although it is possible for an experienced Thailand estate lawyer to draft private legal instruments that can simulate many aspects of a Trust arrangement. Generally, such an instrument must be properly documented and complies with the requirements of a Thailand Will.
Whether or not it is appropriate to use a Trust to transfer assets in a particular circumstance is dependent on the circumstances, and a thorough Thailand Will should always include provision for this. This may also involve other legal documents, such as a Letter of Administration.
In a Thai Will, a foreigner can include all their assets in Thailand, including investments, bank accounts and vehicles. However, there are complex processes and details that must be managed. Under Thai law, a reserved heir (children) must be disinherited under certain strict formal conditions. In other cases a family member can be named as an administrator of the estate, taking on responsibility to protect and handle the assets until the statutory heirs have reached the age of majority.