A Thai Will is a legal document that expresses your decision as to who should inherit your wealth. Without a Will the law decides this and it is very possible that your property will end up with family members that you have not wished to give anything to.
A legal Will must be in writing dated at the time of making and signed by you (the testator) before two witnesses.LegalityA Thai will allows you to choose your legal heirs and outlines your wishes on how your estate should be distributed. Without a will the law will determine this and it could mean that part of your estate ends up with people you would not have wanted to receive anything.Under Thai inheritance law the surviving spouse qualifies as a statutory heir (section 1635 of the Civil and Commercial Code) and inherits a minimum of one-half of the deceased’s property (unless there is a prenuptial agreement). The remainder of the estate will be divided among the statutory heirs in class 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 which include children, parents, brothers and sisters by full blood, half-brothers and half-sisters, grandparents and aunts and uncles.A lawyer will prepare the application for probate or administration of an estate which involves sending legal notices to all parties involved in the case. The lawyer will also help with any documentation required such as a death certificate, proof of ID and a list of all assets owned in Thailand including real estate, shares, bank accounts, etc.ExecutionA Thai Will must be written in ink and signed by the testator and two witnesses. The testator must be at least 15 years old. A will made by a minor is rendered void. However, a testator can make an oral will when no witnesses are available.A well-drafted Thai Will minimises difficulties and expenses after your death. It is also an important document to help you decide how your assets will be allocated to family members.If you die without a will, it is known as dying intestate. In this case, your estate will be distributed according to Thailand law on inheritance. This could result in legal disputes between your family members.Moreover, the process of inheritance in Thailand can be time-consuming for heirs who live overseas. For example, it can take up to several months for an heir to get the final decision from a court in Thailand. In addition, inheritance taxes must be paid, which can add up to a significant amount.ProbateWhen a foreigner dies in Thailand and they own assets here their family will hire a Thai lawyer to initiate a probate proceeding. This process is intended to project the wishes of the deceased in accordance with Thai laws and ensure that their assets are properly allocated among their legal heirs in a timely manner.The first step of estate administration is to verify the deceased’s property assets, disburse any debts, and obtain a probate order from the court. In the event that there is no Will or the Will is invalid, the court will determine beneficiaries and allocate property according to the six classes of statutory heirs stipulated in Book VI of the Civil and Commercial Code.In order to avoid delays and unnecessary expenses it is advisable that all persons owning assets in Thailand draw up a Will, even those who are not concerned about passing on their property to others. A Will allows a person to control their estate in accordance with their wishes and also prevents potential quarrels between relatives.