During one's lifetime, the individual is in control of their own finances and assets, all of which form a part of their estate. However, in the event of a person's death, the answers as to who and how their estate will be managed and inherited become inconclusive. It is for this reason it is preferable to create a will, as it will ensure one's intentions are followed and property is distributed in accordance.

What is Considered as 'Your Estate'?

Upon death, an individual's assets such as cash in bank accounts, stocks or bonds, cars, jewellery, houses, land, artwork, intellectual property, businesses and/or investments are identified and collated, which includes paying off any liabilities the individual may hold. All these assets combined are considered as one's estate (the "Estate").

To protect one's assets even upon passing, an individual may prepare a Will or Testament (the "Will"). With a Will in effect, an individual may distribute their estate per their intentions through the appointment of an estate executor who will manage the estate until the will has been fulfilled. This includes the care of children who are considered as minors, the funeral ceremony, and any other matters alike that are detailed in the Will. A Will shall facilitate and assist in the distribution of your estate to your legal heirs (the "Heirs") as you intended.

How Does the Process Work?

The person making a Will is known as the testator (the "Testator"). After the creation of the Will, the Testator shall then appoint an individual (often family members or friends) to deal with the administration of their Estate (the "Executor"). The Executor will oversee the gathering of the assets, paying off any liabilities, and following any other requirements as detailed in the Will, including distributing assets to any heirs, whether in Thailand or elsewhere in the world.

Worldwide Assets:

An individual's estate may consist of assets in one or many countries, and their Will shall have full validity and enforcement, subject to the applicable governing law. However, in general, succession of immovable property shall be governed by the law of the place where such property is situated, and the succession of movable property shall be governed by the law of domicile or residency of the deceased at the time of death.

Due to the various laws governing the different jurisdictions surrounding estates, it is important to draw up a Will. This is especially important for people who have assets in different countries so as to reduce the period of time in dealing with the inheritance procedure.

Assets in Thailand:

The principal law governing succession in Thailand is the Thai Civil and Commercial Code (CCC), Book 6 Succession, which also applies to the inheritance of any foreigner living in Thailand. However, pursuance to Conflict of Law Act B.E. 2481 (1938), Thai rules of conflict of law establish distinction based on the nature of assets at stake and the date of acquisition.

For example, succession of immoveable property located in Thailand, either by statutory right or by Will, shall be governed by the law of Thailand.

When a person dies, his or her estate shall devolve to his or her heirs. The estate of a deceased person includes his or her properties of every kind, as well as his or her rights, duties, and liabilities, except those which by law or by their nature are purely personal to him or her.

Without the Will, statutory heirs under Thai law are entitled to inherit the Estate.

Will Probate - Estate Executor

A foreigner can make a Thai Will for his or her properties located in Thailand.

Several forms of Will could be made under Thai law. The most practical forms are Hand Writing Form, Normal Form and Public Form. However, Normal Form is fairly simple and practical.

Estate liquidation procedure to be conducted in Thailand starts with the filing before a civil court of a request to appoint an Estate Executor, either by Will or without Will, in charge of assessing assets and debts, settling debt, and distributing assets among heirs.

Will Probate is not applicable in Thailand. However, the legal heir may challenge the validity of the Will before civil court as regards to Estate Executor appointment petition.

Who May I Contact for More Information?

Harvey Law Group (HLG) is dedicated to providing comprehensive, highly personalized advice on wealth preservation, family legacies, estate and tax planning. If you have any questions or would like more information, you may visit our website.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.