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What happens to my assets in Thailand if I don’t have a Last Will and Testament?
A Last Will and Testament is a declaration of intent concerning dispositions of assets or other matters which shall take effect, according to law after the demise of the Testator. The document will detail your assets in Thailand, such as property, bank accounts, vehicle, and personal valuable items, designating who shall inherit and control them according to your wish to prevent unnecessary complications and quarrels between family members.
In Thailand, when a person dies without a Last Will and Testament, the intestate’s assets are then distributed according to the law. As stipulated in The Civil and Commercial Code Section 1629, there are six classes of statutory heirs in Thailand. This entitles each class to inherit in the following order:
- Brothers and sisters of full blood
- Brothers and sisters of half blood
- Grandfathers and grandmothers
- Uncles and aunts
The right of a surviving spouse to share in the estate of a deceased spouse arises automatically from marital status. Spouses who are under separation do not lose the right of inheritance to one another as long as divorce between them has not been granted according to law. Ordinances awarding such rights of a surviving spouse make the spouse a statutory heir. Before any distribution of the estate to the relatives, half of the estate (Sin Somros) will belong to the spouse, if any, and the rest will be accordingly distributed.
Other than assets, what does a Last Will and Testament cover?
Your Last Will and Testament shall cover five important points:
- Appointing an Executor or the person who will be in charged of settling and ensuring that your beneficiaries will receive their inheritance
- Naming all the beneficiaries of your assets
- How to distribute the assets to your beneficiaries
- Funeral arrangement
What are the documents that I need to prepare for my Last Will and Testament?
1. Copy of Identification Cards (Passport/National ID Card) of the Testator, Beneficiaries and Executor
2. Contact Information of the Testator, Beneficiaries and Executor
3. Copy of documents of your assets
- Land, House or Condominium – copy of Title Deed, Sale and Purchase Agreement, and House Book
- Business/Company – copy of Company Registration Papers
- Vehicle – copy of Motor Vehicle Registration Book
- Bank Account – copy of bank book account information page
- List, description and photos of other personal valuable items
4. Possible Funeral requirements
What should I consider when selecting an executor for my will?
Overall, the executor will administer your estate and make sure that everything is according to the terms of your will. Appointing a trusted executor is an important decision that needs thorough consideration. The responsibilities of an executor include making sure to account all assets, to pay all existing debts and tax obligations, and to distribute the remaining assets to the correct beneficiaries according to your will.
Most people tend to choose family members or other close friends or relatives to act as an executor, it is important that he is someone you can completely trust. If you don’t have a friend or a family member with the necessary ability, consider hiring a lawyer, accountant or similar type of professional to act as your executor.
I already have my last will and testament in my home country; do I need a different will for my assets in Thailand?
Different jurisdictions usually require different formalities for the wills. Having a will drafted in your home country to cover all your assets in Thailand, may create troubles to your family. A Last Will and testament might be invalid in Thailand courts if it does not comply with the Thai law requirements. It is advisable to prepare and sign your Last Will on Thai Territory to make sure that Thai rules apply.
It is very important to observe the correct legal formalities when signing, amending, or revoking your Will. Your Last Will and Testament may not be legally valid if you fail to follow all the specific formalities.