For a number of people, writing one’s last will and testament is like writing his death wish. Well, for the sake of comparison, a last will is not a wish “on how to die” but a wish “on how his estates will be administered” in case he meets his untimely demise.
Its intents and purposes are geared up to its practicality and necessity because without it, the descendants, ascendants, the spouse and other relatives may find themselves in bitter dispute over his properties and assets.
Here in Thailand, a well drafted last will and testament is also a necessity that locals and foreigners alike must consider executing.
But, what is the process? How should things go? What is the applicable Thai law on executing a last will and testament?
These are the common questions that this article is aimed to answer.
What is the assets and estates distribution?
In Thailand, if there is no last will and testament in existence, the assets and estates of the deceased are distributed by order of priority as stipulated on Article 1629 of the Civil and Commercial Code but basing on the list, one can notice that the spouse is not among them.
So does it mean that the spouse will receive nothing from the estate? The answer is a no.
The Civil and Commercial Code recognizes the spouse as the owner half of the estate and assets and the other half will be distributed equally basing on the order.
- brothers and sisters in full blood
- brothers and sisters in half blood
- grandfathers and grandmothers
- uncles and aunts
What if there is no Thai will and no living relatives?
In cases that there are no Thai will plus no living relatives, all of the estate of the person who passed away will automatically belong to the state.
Is the last will and testament executed abroad also applicable in Thailand?
Yes, they can be but the family members who are left with the estate will be involved in a challenging and tiresome process of securing the estate and have it distributed to them equally. This is because the last will and testament that is drafted outside of Thailand needs to be translated, notarized and approved by the concerned Thai government agencies.
Therefore, it is highly advisable that a foreigner living in Thailand should make a separate draft of his will for his estate and assets in Thailand apart from his drafted will abroad.
This will move eventually proves it practicality and convenience for the heirs.
Is a lawyer really essential in drafting a last will and testament?
An expatriate can simply make a list of his properties and other assets however no matter how detailed it can be, its compliance to the prescriptions provided by Civil and Commercial Code may still be suspect considering that he does not have the ample knowledge of the process and laws of Thailand.
Therefore, it is imperative that he enlist the services of a Thai lawyer with emphasis of a lawyer from a reputable firm. His prudence to hire a lawyer to assist him with his draft will later prove essential in the eventual distribution of his assets and estate.