This is a comprehensive guide to a last will and testament in Thailand.
It is always a good idea to have a will drafted to decide how you want your assets to be distributed and prevent possible family disputes. Thai law allows foreigners residing in Thailand to protect the assets and properties by making a Thai will.
Let’s find out more about making a will in Thailand.
What is a will?
Pursuant to section 1646 of the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, any person may, in contemplation of death, make a declaration of intention by will concerning dispositions as to his/her property or other matters which shall take effect according to the law after death.
According to section 25, any person who is above 15 years of age can make a will.
Why you need a will in Thailand
Foreigners can have a separate Thai will, but it is not a requirement as foreign wills are enforceable in Thailand.
However, if a foreigner expectedly or unexpectedly dies in Thailand, the last will crafted in their home country may cause the remaining family members several complications, such as translating, notarising and approving all related documents; therefore, it is good practice to have the last will prepared in both countries.
Six classes of statutory heirs
If the foreigner has not made a last will or testament, assets will be distributed to the statutory heir. There are the six classes of statutory heirs and are in entitled to inherit in the following order:
- Brothers and sisters of full blood
- Brothers and sisters of half-blood
- Uncles and aunts
Half of the assets, which is known as the Sin Somros (marital assets or property) will belong to the spouse.
Forms of wills in Thailand
According to the Thai Civil and Commercial Code, wills can be made in the following forms:
- A will made in writing, dated at the time of making the will and signed by the testator before at least two witnesses who shall then sign their names certifying the signature of the testator. No erasure, addition or alternation in the will is valid unless made in the same form (section 1656).
- A will made by a holographic document, which the testator must write with his/her own hand the whole text of the document, the date and his/her signature. No erasure, addition or alternation in the will is valid unless made by the testator’s own hand and signed by him/her (section 1657).
- A will made by a public document (section 1658):
- The testator must declare to the Kromakarn Amphoe before at least two witnesses
- The Kromakarn Amphoe must note down such declaration of the testator and read it to the latter and the witnesses
- The testator and witnesses must sign their names after having ascertained that the statement noted by the Kromakarn Amphoe corresponds with the declaration made by the testator
- The statement noted down by the Kromakarn Amphoe shall be dated and signed by such official who shall certify and seal the will
- No erasure, addition or alternation in the will is valid unless signed by the testator, witness and the Kromakarn Amphoe
- A will made by a secret document (section 1660):
- The testator must sign his/her name on the document
- He/she must close up the document and sign his/her name on the document
- He must produce the closed document before the Kromakarn Amphoe and at least two witnesses and declare to all of them that it contains his/her testamentary dispositions. If the testator has not written the will with his/her own handwriting, the name and domicile of the writer must be stated
- After the Kromakarn Amphoe has noted down upon the cover of the document, the Kromakarn Amphoe, testator and witnesses must sign their names
- No erasure, addition or alternation in the will is valid unless signed by the testator
- Under exceptional circumstances, such as the imminent danger of death, or during an epidemic or war, that the testator is prevented to make a will under any of the following forms, the testator may make an oral will (section 1663).
What information to include in a will?
Information that should be listed in a will include:
- Full name, date of birth, address, nationality and passport number of the testator
- Details of the heirs, such as full names, dates of birth, address and nationality
- Names and addresses of the executors of the will
- Details of the witnesses, such as full names and identification card or passport number
- Possible funeral requirements
- Money or property to give to someone after death
A list of assets and liabilities should be kept together with a copy of your will, which include details of your house, contents, car, jewellery, cash at the bank, quoted stocks and shares.
Which individuals are not qualified as a witness?
The witness cannot be a person who:
- Has not reached their legal age
- Is deaf, mute or blind
- Has a mental illness or adjudged quasi-incompetent
- A beneficiary under the will
We recommend engaging with the services of Acclime to help you put together a Thai will and ensure its validity according to the Thai law.