If you’re moving to Thailand, regardless of your age, it’s essential that you make a last Thai will and testament. Many people move to Thailand for its serenity and beauty, and to escape from such worries. But your Thai assets are just as important as your assets in your home country and they shouldn’t be left to chance. Many Expats see writing a will like something they don’t want to talk about or something to put off until a later date. After all, buying a property in idyllic surroundings is a time to celebrate and enjoy life. But it’s also an investment and all too often people find they’ve left it too late and their loved ones are left to sort out the complications left behind at a time that is already stressful and upsetting for them. Sorting out your last will and testament is something to consider the moment you sign your contract. Then you can settle in Thailand safe in the knowledge that you’ve protected your next of kin.
Why can’t I use a solicitor from my home country?
Harwell Legal provides legal services for drafting a Thai will and will be able to assist and advise you every step of the way. The legally binding document we prepare for you will detail your assets including bank accounts, property, vehicles, and personal items. Trying to document your Thai assets in an overseas will can cause unnecessary complications. When a foreign national dies in Thailand, the Thai authorities will contact the deceased’s family or lawyer for a copy of the last will and testament. If your Thai assets are included in a will from home country, documentation will need to be transferred, translated, notarized and approved by Thai government officials. All of this takes time and places a burden on your family at an already difficult time for them. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you write a separate will for your Thai assets. No matter how good a lawyer from your own country is, their expertise will be in the laws of that country, not Thai law. If you make a Thai will, you must ensure that any other wills that you hold in other countries exclude your Thai assets and that any subsequent last will and testament you make in another country does not supersede the testamentary dispositions under your Thai will.
What happens if I don’t have a will?
Under Thai law, if there is no will then the intestate’s assets are distributed in accordance with the classes of relations as stipulated in the CCC Section 1629 which are in the following order of priority:
- brothers and sisters of full blood;
- brothers and sisters of half blood;
- grandfathers and grandmothers;
- uncles and aunts.
Before any distribution of the estate to the relatives, half of the estate, known as Sin Somros, will belong to the spouse if there is one.
By making a last will and testament in thailand for his/her Thai assets the testator outlines their final wishes for how their estate is distributed following their death. For the testator it is important to observe the legal requirements, as codified in the ‘Title III Wills’, book 5 of the civil code (Wills), in order for the Thai will being valid. It is therefore essential that you obtain proper legal advice from a specialist in the field and do not try to cut corners or take a shortcut. Doing it properly in the first place will prevent unnecessary hassles later on.
What information do I need to write my Thai will?
Full name, date of birth, address, nationality, passport number of the testator;
Details of the heirs, full names, dates of birth, address, nationality, substitutes in case the heir(s) predecease the testator;
The Executor of the will (the job of an executor is to administer your estate);
Names and addresses of executors (typically married people choose their spouse). You can appoint one executor and a substitute executor in case the original executor passes away before you or at the same time, however, they must be appointed by the court;
Witnesses of the will;
Full name and details of ID-card or passport for two witnesses;
Funeral requirements (what should happen to your body after you die?).
Specific legacies (money or property that you give to someone specific after you die and which are not included in a general will)
Do you want to give any jewelry or cash legacies? If so state amount of gift, full name, and address of legatees. This can include charities or other organizations that you wish to donate money to.
Do you want to appoint guardians for any children you have in Thailand?
Do you leave immovable property in Thailand to a minor?
Do you want a limited jurisdiction clause (your will should relate solely to your assets in Thailand)?
You should keep a list of assets and liabilities in Thailand together with a copy of your will. This schedule should include details of any property, contents, car, jewelry, cash in the bank, quoted stocks, shares, partnership shares, shares (e.g in a private limited company) and any other assets or liabilities in Thailand.
Writing a will can seem a lengthy and cumbersome experience and one which always seems to be something for the future. At Harwell Legal, we realize that. We know that your dream move didn’t involve hours sitting in an office discussing your death and how your inheritance should be split. But we also know how crucial it is to get your last will and testament in thailand written as soon as possible. That’s why we promise to make the process as friendly and simple as we possibly can so that, from start to finish, writing and executing your Thai will is a smooth, hassle-free process. For more details or to discuss your requirements get in touch and let us help you on the path to personal paradise.
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