Administration of a foreigner's estate in Thailand on death
Foreigners can but do not have to make a separate Last Will for Thailand as foreign wills are enforceable in Thailand. Unless the foreigner is a resident or has his/her habitual residence in Thailand, owns real estate or is married to a Thai national there is no specific need for foreigners to make a separate Last Will and Testament for assets in Thailand or a Thai Will with the same content as a the Last Will made by the foreigner in his home country.
For the administration and winding up of the estate after a foreigner's death (when there no specific Thai Last Will) there are usually 2 options: a- whether the foreigner's world wide estate is disposed of by Will or statutory succession rules, the official foreign legal document or court order by which an executor has been appointed in the foreigners home country, together with his death certificate must be translated and certified and is submitted with the court in Thailand for approval for the execution in Thailand, or b - the foreigner's Will is certified and translated and submitted to court for the appointment of the executor (more lenghtly). Note the problems with inheritance of real estate assets owned directly or indirectly by foreigners read more...
Forms of wills in Thailand are governed by the sections 1655 to 1672 Civil and Commercial Code. The most common type of Last Will and Testament made by foreigners in Thailand is a Will made in the form according section 1656 of the Civil and Commercial Code: 'A will may be made in the following form, that is to say, it must be made in writing, dated at the time of making of will and signed by the testator before at least two witnesses present at the same time who shall then and there sign their names certifying the signature of the testator. No erasure, addition or other alternation in such will is valid unless made in the same form as prescribed by this section'. A Thai Will can have a limited jurisdiction clause and choice for Thai law (i.e. can apply only on assets located in the Kingdom of Thailand).
The above mentioned Will form does not have to be notarized or authenticated but must be properly witnessed. Making a registered (public or secret) Last Will or Testament with the government (the Kromakarn Amphur) requires Thai language skills and a yellow house book. We offer a ZIP package with a Will template according section 1656 Civil and Commercial Code with a limited jurisdiction clause, download, complete the missing details and customize the documents, prepare a printed copy or copies of your Will (use a print shop for quality printing and to bind the pages with a plastic cover), make arrangements with 2 reliable witnesses for the signing of the Will. The beneficiary in the Will in Thailand can be appointed as the administrator, but cannot be a witness of the Will. When you have your Will ready keep your Will in a safe place and keep a copy of your Thai Will together with any Last Will or Testament made in your home country (if any), keep a list with details of your assets in Thailand together with the Will and keep a list of who to contact in the event of your death in Thailand (including your embassy's contact details as they must be notified first and can assist your heirs).
Administration and winding up an estate
Also the distribution of an estate on death following a Thai last will made by a foreigner inside Thailand or under Thai inheritance law is subject to a legal (probate) procedure and appointment of an administrator for the winding up of the estate. You cannot turn up at a bank, Land Office or any other institution with a Last Will (Thai or foreign) and request transfer and registration of the assets. If the foreigner is married to a Thai national his assets in Thailand which are deemed common property between husband and wife according to laws governing 'property between husband and wife' must be divided first and distributed to the surviving spouse, from the deceased spouse's share there is no minimum portion that must be assigned to the surviving spouse or children under Thai inheritance laws, read more classes of statutory heirs.