When you are buying property in Phuket, you are not only purchasing a piece of tropical paradise to enjoy, you are also growing your estate that some day you will pass on to your loved ones. While you may already have prepared a last will and testament in your home country, you should nevertheless become familiar with the succession procedure in Thailand, and even consider preparing a Last Will for your assets in Thailand, as it will greatly simplify the task of your testament's executor. Here we will briefly explain the succession process in Thailand, as well as the advantages and the ways to prepare a Thai Last Will.
The Succession Process in Thailand without a Last Will
Upon passing away, whether in Thailand or elsewhere, the relatives of the deceased must file a claim to the authorized Thai Court to appoint an executor of the estate, who will be in charge of redistributing the deceased's assets in Thailand. Even if you already have a Last Will and Testament and appointed an executor of the estate in your home country, such person won't be allowed to inherit or redistribute your assets in Thailand without a Court Order from a Thai Court. If there isn't a Last Will and Testament, the Court will ask that all the close relatives agree on appointing an executor to divide the assets as agreed between the relatives, or failing to reach an agreement, the assets will have to be sold and the proceeds equally divided between them.
The Advantages of having a Last Will in Thailand
As you can imagine, without a proper Last Will that can be executed through the Thai Courts, family relations could well break down as what may seem fair to some might not to others, and in the best case where an agreement has been reached, it's still a long process. The best way to make the succession process as simple and pain-free as possible, is by preparing a Last Will and Testament that is valid in Thai Law and that can be readily submitted to the authorized Thai Courts. In this case, the Court claim becomes very straightforward as the terms of the succession having already been laid down in the Testament, it is simply a matter of validating it and issuing the Court Order. The succession laws in Thailand are remarkable in that they leave total freedom when making one's last will, and therefore you have full control of how you may distribute your estate, and there are currently no inheritance taxes, leaving your heirs the full enjoyment of your assets without worries.
How to Make a Last Will according to Thai Law
There are several kinds of Last Wills in Thailand, but the most efficient and secure is the "Registered Last Will and Testament", which is a printed document that your legal adviser can draft for you, that you sign on every page in front of two witnesses who also sign in their turn, and then take such document together with the witnesses to the nearest District Administration Office (Amphur) to be registered by the Head Official, who will keep the testament until it needs to be used, and sign and provide a receipt. This makes your Testament indisputable, while also keeping it secret until it is needed. It is important to remember that the witnesses on the Last Will must be inheriting anything from the Testament, otherwise it would invalidate it. Once the Last Will registered and kept at the District Administration Office, you can simply inform your relatives that you have done so, giving them the instructions on how to proceed and where to get the Testament in due course.
Once this step accomplished, you can now enjoy your property in Thailand with a full peace of mind knowing that your assets will be in good hands and properly redistributed according to your own wishes, without room for any misunderstanding or family conflicts. This is therefore a very important step not the be forgotten after the purchase of property in Phuket.