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Inheritance in Thailand

Nobody likes to think about the questions that arise at the end of life. However, uncertainties and difficulties might increasingly occur in a different and perhaps unknown legislation like in Thailand. As the Consulate does not have any expertise in notarial matters nor in matters of civil law and as the Embassy is unable to give legal advice, it is recommendable availing yourself of professional legal support to settle your individual matters.

 

Last Will in Thailand

It is sensible to draft and execute a Last Will or Testament to avoid uncertainties and regulate your own succession in good times. This is especially the case if for example international law, several heirs or real estate are involved.

For most EU citizens if their main residence is in Thailand according to the EU succession law regulation, Thai law will be applicable to the inheritance. However, in some cases it might be difficult to tell where the main residence is located. With a Last Will or Testament, you may choose the law of your nationality to govern your inheritance alternatively to your main residence and clarify this matter.

Among other options a Last Will according to Thai law is usually made in writing, dated and signed by the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses who certify the signature of the testator with their signature, or as a second often sued option as a testament written wholly by the testator himself in his own handwriting, also including the date of writing and the signature of the testator.

In order to ensure that your Last Will is legally valid and tailored to your individual situation, taking into account relevant regulations, and possible legal options, financial and tax consequences, experienced legal support is required.

We recommend keeping copies of your Last Will with your heirs and/or with a law firm.

 

Living Will in Thailand

If you are living in Thailand, you might consider writing a Living Will according to the Thai National Health Act. The Living Will shall be made in writing, dated at the time of making and signed by the declarant in the presence of at least two witnesses who also sign the Living Will.

The intention to write a Living Will follows the principle of the right to die in dignity and the right to a natural death instead of being kept alive artificially. You may refuse medical treatment under certain circumstances to avoid life-sustaining – and maybe expensive - medical technology or to cease severe suffering from a disease and give instructions to take palliative care of you.

In case you are not able to decide for yourself anymore, you may also assign a representative to make decisions on your behalf under the guideline of your Living Will.

By writing a Living Will, you can relive your family from difficult decisions and prepare them for this difficult time.

 

Inheritance in Thailand

If there are assets of a deceased in Thailand in most cases - especially if real estate, for example a condominium, is included - it will be necessary to conduct inheritance proceedings at a Thai court and install an Inheritance Administrator to manage the properties in Thailand. You will have to file a petition at the court at the place where your deceased relative had his domicile, his real estate or bank account in Thailand.

The court proceedings usually take at least 6 months. For the inheritance proceedings, you will need a Thai attorney and for the management of the legal estate the Inheritance Administrator will have to appear at court and be present in Thailand to manage the assets. The Inheritance Administrator can be one of the heirs or a third person of their trust assigned by them.

If the assets of the deceased in Thailand consist only of a bank account and the balance is not very high some banks might - in case by case decisions and up to the discretion of the responsible bank officers - accept to close the bank account and transfer the balance to the heirs without a Thai court order. Nevertheless also, in this case the bank will require several documents and respective translations and the heir or his attorney still have to visit the bank in person.

It is advisable to use reliable legal services to represent your interests in Thailand and to guide you through the formalities and legal steps at the court, the bank or the land department to receive the inheritance and maybe to avoid travelling to Thailand yourself if you don’t live in Thailand.

 

Cooperation Partner

If you have any further questions or need legal support, we would like to recommend to contact:

Schaefke Legal Services Co., Ltd.

Mr. Georg Schäfke

Attorney at Law (admitted in Germany, not admitted in Thailand)

Generally licensed court-interpreter and translator for the Thai and German (OLG Cologne, Germany)

 

223/42 Country Complex Tower A, Suite 5-6,

11th Floor, Sanphawut Road, Bangna,

Bangkok 10260, Thailand

 

Telephone: +66-2-7451545

Fax: +66-2-7451546

 

Germany: +49-221-677864770

Fax: +49-221-677864779

http://www.schaefke.legal/

Schaefke@schaefke.legal