Wills and Succession in Thailand

Our lawyers advise foreign individuals on making a will and arranging their assets according to the law of succession and inheritance in Thailand. A properly drafted will can save much time, stress and money for your descendants in the future.

Inheritance procedures in Thailand are quite simple compared to foreign laws that reserve a portion of the heritage for protected heirs such as children.

How do I make a Will in Thailand?

It is very important for foreigners to make a Will in Thailand especially if they live and own property in the country. This is because if you die without a Will your wishes will be determined by Thai Inheritance law. This can result in your assets and property being distributed to family members whom you may not have wanted to receive anything from your estate.

A Will should identify the testator (the person making the Will). It should also include a list of your assets and properties including real estate, bank accounts, financial investments and vehicles. It should also state your heirs.

You must use blue ink for all handwritten text and signatures as this will stand out better on a scan. You must have 2 witnesses to sign the Will. If you do not have a witness then a Holographic Will can still be used. However, this has its drawbacks such as the Court may have doubts about its authenticity.

What happens if I die without a Will in Thailand?

In the absence of a will (called dying intestate) assets are distributed in accordance with inheritance law. This could mean that your family may not get your property as you would have wanted them to.

For foreigners with local assets such as investments, bank accounts, vehicles and other personal property a Thai Will is important to ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event of your death. In addition a Living Will (also known as a Physician’s Directive) can be made that dictates your desires should you become incapacitated or terminally ill.

A Thai Will must be written in the Thai language and be witnessed by two people. This can slow proceedings so it is a good idea to have a translated copy ready. This should be kept safely with the original for ease of access. The probate process in Thailand can take up to six months. This can cause distress to your loved ones who will need to travel from abroad to attend court hearings.

What happens if I die with a Will in Thailand?

In Thailand if you die with a Will (known as a “will of testament”) the assets will be disposed according to your wishes and supervised by the Executor(s) you have nominated. However, if no executor is named, or the nominated Executor(s) cannot or will not act as Administrator of your Estate, any ‘interested person’ can apply to be appointed at Court.

For foreigners, the settlement of their estate is a long and complicated process. It is therefore highly advisable for them to make a Will, preferably with specific provisions for assets present in Thailand, including a “Living Will” so that medical professionals can follow their end of life wishes. In addition, a Will can help to avoid unnecessary disputes between heirs. For a small fee, having a Thai Will can save thousands of hours and much stress for your family in the future. This will not only ease the burden on your loved ones but also save your family money.

What happens if I die with no Will in Thailand?

Even though it is not an easy subject to talk about, it is important to consider the possibility of death while living or working in Thailand. For a foreigner with assets in Thailand (like a house or land, bank accounts, vehicles and shares in a Thai company) this could mean that the family members back home have to deal with a lengthy probate process to get their inheritance. In the absence of a Will or if it is found to be invalid, Thai law stipulates that a deceased person’s estate and property is distributed according to six different classes of legal heirs: descendants; parents; brothers and sisters; half brothers and sisters; grandparents; uncles and aunts.

It is possible for a foreigner to prepare a valid Will in their own country and exclude assets in Thailand through a limited jurisdiction clause. However, if a large portion of the deceased’s estate and asset are located in Thailand, it might be better to engage a Thai law firm to prepare a Will that complies with local inheritance laws.

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