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Thailand Last Will and Testament and Inheritance Rights

What is estate planning and how does it apply in Thailand?

Estate planning is the process whereby an attorney and client determine the best way to structure a legal plan for a clientís assets and their disposition in the event of the clientís death. This process usually involves drafting a last will and testament that complies with relevant laws and serves the clientís objectives, which could involve: the establishment of other legal structures, such as trusts, joint tenancies, transfer and leasebacks. Planning usually focuses on the most efficient way to transfer assets to the descendantís family and to legally minimize tax obligations. For persons that reside or have assets in Thailand, estate planning requires specialized expertise because it is the Thai courts that will decide the ownership of estate assets. Accordingly, substantive knowledge of Thai law and court procedures, combined with practical knowledge, are very important.

If I donít have a Thailand will, who will get my property if I die

When a person dies without having made a will, the whole of his estate shall be distributed among his statutory heirs according to the law. Under Thai inheritance law, there are only six classes of statutory heir and each class is entitled to inherit in the following order: descendants; parents; brothers and sisters of full blood; brothers and sisters of half blood; grandparents; and uncles and aunts. The surviving spouse is also a statutory heir under certain circumstances.

Under Thai probate law, how is property transferred at death?

Normally, a probate order must be obtained from the Thailand Probate Court. Property is transferred either by will or through intestate succession, according to law. For both approaches, the court must approve the legalities of the inheritance and issue official orders appointing an executor or administrator to handle the affairs of the estate.

What does "Probate of an Estate" mean?

Probate is the court supervised administration of your assets after your death. Your "Probate Estate" comprises all the property you owned at death, which does not pass by trust or operation of law.

Why is probate administration necessary?

Since the deceased are not here to speak for themselves, the law seeks to protect both the wishes of the deceased and genuine heirs according to law. The Probate Court will require evidence before allowing the distribution of assets and protection of a deceased personís property. Probate proceedings are conducted under strict court supervision to safeguard both the beneficiaries and the creditors of the estate.

What are the basic requirements of a Last Will and Testament in Thailand?

A will in Thailand must meet very specific requirements for it to be considered valid. There are three broad classifications for valid wills, but persons are advised to seek an attorney before completing Last Wills and Testament in Thailand as specific requirements vary. The Thai inheritance law specifies three broad categories of valid wills:

(1) Wills made before public officials
(2) Holographic wills
(3) Validly witnessed wills