Last Will and Testament in Thailand
Estate planning including preparation of a Last Will and Testament may be an unpleasant matter to think about for most people, however, of highest importance when having acquired property with considerable value in a foreign country. For those who have purchased property in Thailand, draft of such Last Will and Testament is highly recommended in order to protect the interests of your beneficiaries. Even if a Last Will and Testament is not legally required in Thailand to pass on your assets to your heirs, such legal document may help to simplify the required procedures upon someone´s demise including but not limited to allocation of the assets to be passed on by clear, detailed and accurate description under such Will.
Whenever owning assets in different countries, each country may have different applicable laws and regulations describing the relevant formalities a Last Will needs to comply with. Therefore, it is advisable to prepare a separate Will for each jurisdiction governing your assets. A Will which is drafted in compliance with the laws of your country of origin might be conflicting with the relevant laws of Thailand and vice versa. Therefore it is of highest importance to understand that your Last Will and Testament which might be perfectly legal under the laws of your home jurisdiction may be deemed as null and void under the laws of your second home.
Further, it needs to be considered that a Will drafted by your lawyer in your home country may be written or include documentation issued in your native language, however, this language is not accepted as official language in Thailand. Therefore your heirs would need to prepare certified translations issued by official bodies such as Notary Public, embassy or other governmental authorties which is troublesome, time consuming and cost intensive.
In context of estate planning it is also recommendable to verify whether your property and beneficaries’ interests are sufficiently protected by and through a robust legal structure underlying the property to be passed on. Whenever buying property, especially in a foreign country, it needs to be considered that certain rights may not or only under certain conditions inheritable. This important question, should be discussed with your lawyer, ideally before choosing and buying a property, ensuring that it fulfils your requirments in this specific matter.
To summarize, whenever buying property, protection of your investment is of highest priority. Preparation of a Last Will can be an useful instrument in this context in order to protect the interests and minimize the risks of your heirs. Therefore, when investing significant amount of monies, especially in a foreign country, having different or even unknown laws, regulations and formalities, based on a different historical and cultural background, it requires to consultat a professional being familiar with the matter of estate planning and inheritance to secure your heirs interests and avoid unpleasant surprise.
This article is written by International Law Office Patong Beach Co., Ltd., a Phuket based law firm. In case of enquiries, please contact Michael Greth, Consulant, by email (email@example.com) or phone (+66-(0) 76-222 191-5).