Last Will and Testament in Thailand
In my experience with dealing with a lot of the expat community in Thailand, the task of obtaining and making a last will and testament seems to be a subject they do not wish to talk about, or is put at the bottom of their list of priorities. Would you leave your assets to chance in your own home country?
Coming to Pattaya and enjoying the sunshine and wonderful lifestyle can make the best of us forget what things are important. It is so easy to put important tasks to the back of our mind and think, “I’ll do that job tomorrow.” Don’t make this mistake. In my professional opinion, protecting your assets in Thailand and abroad should be a very strong priority for you, your Thai partner, and your overseas beneficiaries.
Your home, car, motorbike and Thai bank account needs protection for your beneficiaries, be they your family in your home country or your Thai partner over here. It doesn’t matter if you are married or unmarried – you need to make sure your property both real and liquid go where you want.
For a small expense you can safeguard your hard work and possessions – Don’t put off an easy job because of perceived unpleasantness.
What you need to know about making a will in Thailand
IF I DON’T HAVE A WILL WHAT HAPPENS TO MY ASSETS?
If you have not got a last will and testament in place it is a horrendous task for your Thai partner to claim the right to your assets if you are not married. I myself have had one friend who unfortunately died in Thailand and even more unfortunately did not prepare a last will and testament. One year later and his family was still going through the Thai judicial system to claim his assets which are trapped in probate. All of this can be avoided by making a quick visit to the Key Visa Co office. If you have a Thai partner and you are not married then your partner has no claim over your assets whatsoever, leaving them in a very vulnerable position.
If you wish your family to receive your assets then they have the arduous task of coming to Thailand and proving they are next of kin. They then have to employ a Thai lawyer to undertake your case which can be a lengthy process – anything from 18 months or even longer.
During these 18 months there will be numerous visits to the courthouse, incurring large legal fees. In some instances the legal fees have totaled 50% of the estate’s value. This massive stress your beneficiaries have to endure can be even more costly.
An even more harrowing prospect is the possibility of the court not accepting your beneficiaries’ petition. This will result in your assets being lost. All because you did not want to write a will.
DOES MY THAI PARTNER NEED A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT?
In my professional opinion the answer is yes. You may ask why? Taking into consideration the other side of the coin, if your Thai partner is the owner of your assets e.g. home, car, motorbike and has these in their name, or you are married and you are entitled to a 50/50 share, what would happen if your Thai partner should unfortunately die?
In my past experience I have witnessed the Thai partner’s next of kin claim the right to the assets of their deceased family member. The foreign partner who had paid for everything was left with nothing. This included having their home and car, where they once lived happily, taken away from them because they had no Last will and testament arranged which, believe it or not, is a sadly common occurrence.
It is difficult to deal with losing a loved one, but to lose your assets in Thailand at the same time would be an unbearable kick while you’re down.
Preemption is the best policy and my advice is take just a small piece of your time to arrange a Last Will and Testament for your own piece of mind. You can then carry on with your quality of life knowing your assets are secure.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE I CAN ADD TO MY WILL?
One of the main problems I have seen is that when a foreigner dies in Thailand there can be a conflict between the family in their home country and their Thai partner. This is often due to the Thai partner wanting a Buddhist cremation ceremony and the family wishing the body to be sent to the home country. This can be a very awkward situation for the foreigner’s embassy to deal with. So, in the last will and testament, the foreigner can state in which way they wish to be laid to rest.
HOW DO I ARRANGE A LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT
If you wish to arrange a last will and testament at Key Visa Company we make the whole process a hassle free experience for the client. We do understand that this type of consultation is difficult for the customer, so we make it as easy for you as possible. We start by consulting with the client and asking them to produce information on their assets and who the named beneficiaries will be.
The client then returns with the information and we prepare their last will and testament. The format we use is both in Thai and English and can be translated into any language.
The whole process, from receipt of information to document delivery, is three to four days from start to finish.
CAN I/WE CHANGE THE WILL AT ANY TIME?
The will can be altered at any time by the client. If there are two parties involved in the will, both parties have to produce the signature on the paperwork and their original identification before the lawyer will proceed with any changes. The cost for changing the will can vary on the level of changes needed but will be fair and good value for money as with all of our services.
During your time as an expat in Thailand if you are receiving a private or state pension, you may be asked to prove that you are still alive by having a responsible person sign a document affirming this fact. If at any time you require a proof of life document, you can contact Key Visa for help.
WHAT IF I HAVE A WILL IN MY OWN COUNTRY?
If you have a will in your own home country it will not be sufficient to protect your assets in Thailand. My advice is to arrange a last will and testament in Thailand to protect your assets here.
We at Key Visa Company feel very strongly about advising the expat community, no matter how difficult the consultation, to preempt a more difficult situation later by taking the proper precautions now.
The cost of making a Last Will And Testament at Key Visa Company is only 12,000 Thai baht. For this fee we produce four original copies of the last will. You keep an original, your beneficiary keeps an original, and we keep two copies safe. We are always ready to give the beneficiary all the help needed to sort any legal proceeding out, but this is not included in the above cost.
If you wish to have a consultation regarding a Last Will And Testament then please email [email protected] or call the office on 038 422 131 for further details and we will make it as painless as possible.