Wills in Thailand

The right to transfer ownership is known as succession. Upon death, Thai law gives the deceased person control over his assets. This control comes by way of a will in Thailand. The deceased person can specify people who can inherit from him. The people who can inherit from the deceased are legally referred to as heirs.

If a person dies with a Thai will, only the heirs can inherit. The will also specifies what properties are to be given and how much will go to each heir.

In Thailand, succession happens by will or by operation of law. Succession has two types: testate and intestate succession.

Testate succession occurs when the deceased named the heirs in the will, in the form prescribed by law. Under this type, various forms exist.

  1. A will made in writing, dated and signed by the deceased in the presence of at least two witnesses. The witnesses must certify that the testator’s signature is real. Deaf, insane or incompetent persons are not allowed to be witnesses.

    1. A will following this form must be made in accordance with the requirements of Thai law. This is more formal than a holographic will.

  1. A holographic will wherein the testator himself, by his own hand, writes the entire will. The testator should sign at the end of the will and put a date when the will is written.

  1. A will made in a public document upon declaration of the testator in the presence of at least two witnesses and the Kromakarn Amphoe who will write down the content of the will.

    1. The contents as declared by the testator will be read before the latter and the witnesses. Upon verifying the contents of the will, the testator and the witnesses will sign the note. This note will serve as the will of the testator.

  1. A will written in a secret document wherein the testator writes his disposition with signature and date. The testator will seal the document and have the Kromakarn Amphoe sign. The Kromakarn Amphoe will then transcribe the statement which then becomes the will of the testator.

  1. An oral will made in cases of epidemic, war or imminent danger to the testator provided the testator is prevented to make a will under any of the other forms.

The second type of succession is intestate succession. It is one where the deceased failed to make a will, or the will made by him was not in accordance with Thai law. In this case, the people who can inherit from him are those provided under the law.

The Civil and Commercial Code lists down the statutory heirs who are as follows:

  1. Descendants;

  1. Parents;

  1. Spouse;

  1. Brothers and sisters of full blood;

  1. Brothers and sisters of half blood;

  1. Grandparents; and

  1. Uncles and aunts.

The above-mentioned heirs have different rights to the estate of the deceased depending on their relationship with the latter.

While a person may die intestate, testate succession is always advised. In making a will, it is advised that a Thailand lawyer be consulted to make it fully in accordance with Thai law. Whatever form of will is drafted, only heirs, devisees and legatees are allowed to inherit from the deceased.

This article was provided by Siam Legal, an international law firm with offices in Thailand, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Siam Legal publishes guides to dealing with property in Thailand on its website.

Siam Legal International
Interchange 21 Building, 23rd Floor, 399 Sukhumvit Road
North Klongtoey, Wattana, Bangkok 10110
Tel: 662 259-8100

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