Here are some common Last Will and Testament Myths and Misconceptions:
I don’t need a Will because I am legally married, so all my assets will automatically go to my spouse when I pass away.
This is not necessarily the case. In Thailand, when a person dies without a Last Will and Testament, the intestate’s assets are then distributed according to the law. There are six classes of statutory heirs in Thailand, which 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. 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 distributed accordingly.
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.
Making a Will is for the elderly or people with health problems.
Making a Will is for anybody who is at age 15 years old above and not being an incompetent person. If you have substantial possessions, it is right for you and for your family to make a Last Will and Testament. This is regardless of your age or current health status.
A beneficiary can also be a witness to my Will.
Anyone who will benefit or inherit any asset under your will must not be a witness to it. According to the law, any witness to the will, or even the person drafting the will, as well as their spouses, must not be a beneficiary to your will. This is to prevent possible conflicts in the future.
Witnesses don’t need to read the entire will document to sign it, they only need to be able to confirm that the document exists, and that they’ve signed it in front of you without coercion.
I can only bequeath my assets to my Statutory Heirs.
You can appoint whomever you wish to be the beneficiary of the Will, not just the statutory heirs. It can be any person such as your friend or your colleague. You can as well consider a juristic person such as organization, foundation, school, or temple.
I can bequeath the house that my Thai spouse and I acquired after our marriage to my beneficiary.
Marital assets acquired after the official marriage registration are deemed as joint assets or Sinsomrod. Both spouses have their equal rights of the house ownership. Therefore, in such case, you can only bequeath 50% of the asset.
My Executor can immediately manage all my assets in my Last Will and Testament after my death.
According to the Thai law, even with or without the Will, the Executor must receive the Court Order first. The Executor must submit the petition to the Court in order to have the Court appoint him/her as the official Executor. After receiving the Court Order, the Executor can afterwards use this document to execute the wishes expressed in your Will.
I can just bequeath my assets to one beneficiary and force some instruction for him/her to manage the assets according to my wishes.
When you pass away, the assets become the assets of the beneficiary. Therefore, all of the legal rights shall be passed to your beneficiary. He or she shall then have the full right to decide on how to manage the said assets; whether to mortgage, allocate, or make some profit out of it. However, you can define the prohibition of asset sell-out or transfer of the certain beneficiary to another party, and this shall be valid within a limited or unlimited time as per the testator’s wishes.
I need to destroy all the previous Wills that I have made in the past after making a new one.
The latest Last Will and Testament normally supersedes any previous ones. That is to say, the effectiveness of all wills that were made in the past shall automatically end by law regardless of the state of it being destroyed or lost.