Many people don’t give much thought to their Wills but a well-drafted one can save you and your family from many problems in the future. A Will identifies your Legal Heirs and stipulates how your assets will be distributed after death.
If you die without a Will, your estate will be divided according to Thai inheritance law. Your spouse is a statutory heir and will receive half of the property.
What is a Last Will and Testament?
A will is a legal document that specifies your desires for the distribution of your property after death. A Will can include details of the property you own, a list of heirs and legatees, and any special instructions.
A Will can be drafted in Thai or another language. However, it is essential to follow the specific legal formalities prescribed by Thai law to ensure your Will is valid and enforceable in Thailand.
A properly drafted Will allows you to choose your heirs and clearly outlines your wishes. It also makes the settlement of your succession much easier.
Who will inherit your property if you die without a Will?
When someone dies without a Will, they are said to die “intestate.” This means that their property passes according to state laws called the “laws of intestacy.”
These laws determine who inherits your estate. In general, married surviving spouses get the first $50,000 of the individual’s personal property and then half of everything else; children inherit the rest. In states that recognize domestic partnerships, a registered domestic partner inherits the same as a married surviving spouse.
Other types of property are not considered individually owned and thus do not pass in accordance with the laws of intestacy. This includes joint bank accounts, real estate held as “joint tenancy with rights of survivorship,” and transfer-on-death vehicle titles. Therefore, it’s important to make a will if you want certain things (such as a vintage guitar) to go to a friend or caretaker instead of your heirs. Then you have to name someone in your will to handle these assets.
How will your heirs get their inheritance if you die without a Will?
If a person dies without a Will, the property will be distributed by the law. This process is known as intestate succession. In order to get their inheritance, the heirs must prove their relationship to the deceased and that they are a legal heir.
For foreigners with assets in Thailand, it is advisable to make a Thai will that designates the law of Thailand to govern their estate and specifies a limitation to its jurisdiction (so that a subsequent Last Will made in their home country does not supersede the testamentary dispositions under this Thai will).
This type of document will allow you to choose who will receive your property as well as to appoint an executor, choose Guardians for children under the age of majority, provide Donations/Legs and more. It is important that a qualified lawyer drafts this document as errors could lead to additional legal costs after your death. Also a Will should be carefully reviewed to ensure that it is free of illegal or immoral conditions as these might be rejected by the court.
What happens if you die without a Will?
A Will allows a person to designate their heirs and specify their wishes. This makes the process of settling an estate much easier and faster.
In the absence of a Will, a court will decide how to divide your assets. The courts will try to find a balance between what the deceased wanted and what is in the best interest of your heirs.
It is important to have a Will and keep it updated. A Will is a legal document that must be written in your own handwriting and signed in front of two witnesses who are adults capable of understanding the contents of the will. A Will must also specify the name of the testator and if applicable, his/her spouse. The testator must be over the age of 15. If a Will is made by a minor it is considered void. A foreign will may be used in Thailand but it will need to meet the requirements under Thai law.