Wills / Estate Administration Juslaws & Consult counsels clients in all areas of Thai family law including providing services related to wills and estate administration. Our lawyers have extensive experience in drafting wills and ensuring that the documents meet the requirements of both Thai law and the laws of the client’s home country. Estate planning generally involves an attorney and client working together to structure the client’s assets and plan for the distribution of the assets in the event of the client’s death. This typically involves drafting a will that meets a client’s wishes and complies with all relevant laws. This could involve the establishment of trusts or other legal structures as well. The objective of an estate plan is to provide for the most efficient means for transferring a client’s assets to their heirs and to minimize tax obligations. For a person who lives in Thailand or has assets in the country, specialist legal expertise is important in preparing a will.
Substantive knowledge of Thai law and court procedures are essential to protect the interests of the client. It is recommended that foreigners residing in Thailand have a will prepared in Thailand and one in their home country. A Thai will covers the person’s assets in Thailand, including personal property, vehicles, bank accounts and investments, for example. When a foreigner dies in Thailand, a copy of the will must be provided to the courts, either by a member of the decedent’s family or the deceased person’s attorney. A decedent’s property in Thailand is transferred by stipulations in the will or, if no will exists, by the law on intestate succession.
In both cases, a court must approve the legal aspects of the inheritance, and will appoint an executor or administrator to handle the estate’s affairs. When a person dies intestate, or not having executed a valid will, the entire estate is distributed among their heirs according to law. Under Thai law there are six classes of statutory heirs. Each class inherits according to the following order: descendants (or children), parents, brothers and sisters of full blood, brothers and sisters of half blood, grandparents, and uncles and aunts. Under certain circumstances, the surviving spouse is also a statutory heir. Probate is the process of administering the decedent’s assets. In Thailand, this process is supervised by the courts and is designed to project the wishes of the decedent and the decedent’s heirs while complying with Thai laws.