Thai Inheritance Law

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Inheritance
What happens to my assets in Thailand if I don’t have a Last Will and Testament?

In Thailand, when a person dies without a Last Will and Testament, the intestate’s assets must be distributed according to the law. As stipulated in The Civil and Commercial Code Section 1629, there are six classes of statutory heirs in Thailand. Each class has the entitlement to inherit in the following order;

  1. descendants
  2. parents
  3. brothers and sisters of full blood
  4. brothers and sisters of half blood
  5. grandfathers and grandmothers
  6. 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 unless the court grants the divorce between them. Ordinances awarding such rights on a surviving spouse make the spouse a statutory heir. Before any distribution of the estate to the relatives, half of the estate (community property or in Thai, Sin Somros) will belong to the spouse, if any, and the other half is for distribution accordingly.

Can a foreigner acquire a free-hold condominium by inheritance?

A foreigner who acquires a condominium unit by inheritance, either as a legal heir under a Last Will and Testament or as a statutory heir, shall acquire the property ownership if the condominium unit is within the foreign quota and the foreigner qualifies for ownership. Otherwise, the foreigner must dispose of the unit within 1 year from the date of acquisition.  If it is not disposed of within such period of time, the Director-General of Land Department shall have the power to sell the condominium unit on the foreigner’s behalf.

Can a foreigner acquire a land by inheritance?

Foreigners cannot own or inherit land in Thailand. Any foreigner who inherits land must dispose of the land within 1 year as prescribed by the Director-General. If such time period elapses, the Director-General shall have power to dispose of such land.

Can i inherit a leasehold property?

A major disadvantage of lease in Thailand is that the contract and the right of possession terminates upon death of the lessee and is not automatically transferable by inheritance. Although the lease agreement must include a succession clause, this does not offer full legal guarantee for the lessee’s heirs.

How to manage the debts due by the estate?

The creditors of an estate can claim only out of the property of the estate. The payment of the debts due by the estate shall be in the following order according to the provisions of the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code concerning preferential rights:

  1. expenses incurred for the common benefit of the estate
  2. expenses incurred for the funeral of the deceased
  3. taxes and rates due by the estate
  4. wages due by the deceased to any clerk, servant or workman
  5. supplies of daily necessities made to the deceased
  6. remuneration for the administrator

Unless otherwise provided by the deceased or by law, the appropriation of the property of the deceased for the payment of debts are in the following order:

  1. property other than immovable property
  2. immovable properties: 
  • expressly appropriated to that purpose by will, if any;
  • to which the statutory heirs are entitled as such;
  • bequeathed to a person upon the condition that he shall pay the debts of the deceased;
  • bequeathed under general title;

     c. any specific property bequeathed under a particular title

Any property appropriated under the foregoing provisions shall be sold by way of public auction, but any heir may prevent such sale by paying, to the extent required for the satisfaction of the creditors, the value of the whole or part of the property as may be determined by an appraiser appointed by the Court.

A statutory heir or a legatee under a general title is not bound to execute legacies under a particular title for more than the amount of the received property.

The administrator is not bound to deliver the estate or any part thereof to the heirs before one year has elapsed from the deceased’s date of death, unless satisfying all the known creditors of the estate and legatees by the performance and distribution.