If you are planning to arrange your last will and testament to ensure that your property is distributed in the exact manner in which you want it to, it is essential that you know about the forms of Thai wills and choose accordingly. These forms are mentioned in Chapter II of the Civil and Commercial Code and one of these must be adhered to in order to be legally valid.
What are the variants of wills in Thailand?
- Last will in writing – This is perhaps the most widely used form of will used in Thailand. Section 1656 of the Civil and Commercial Code states that this kind of wills would need two witnesses to sign the document to certify the testator’s signature. These wills are dated at the time of making and need not be registered and notarized to gain its validity as a will.
- Public document – You can also choose to make your last will and testament as a public document at the amphur in your area or in a Khet, as they are known in Bangkok. This document should include a statement to the relevant public officer. To make your will in this format, reading and writing in Thai is a prerequisite since you would be required to describe your wishes about your properties in Thai to a public official who would write down your declaration in the same language in the will. This is in line with section 1658 of the Civil and Commercial Code. The public officer would then read out your declaration to you and the drawn up will should then be signed by the witnesses.
- If you own land with permanent ownership under some company, it would be transferred to your heirs in the form of shares instead of the actual property. That is, your heir would own shares of the company in the event of your demise. If this is something you do not want, the arrangement of a last will mentioning the management of the ownership of the land is imperative.
- Secret document – The same amphur could serve as the place to make a will as a secret document. Just in this case you need to close and sign this document that is your last will, before it is handed over to the public official. This is abiding by section 1660 of the Civil and Commercial Code. This closed document must also be signed by a couple of witnesses and then it is sealed by the relevant public officer.
- Word of mouth – There are certain exceptional situations where making a will is important but the situations do not allow you to do so. The circumstances include imminent threat to life and prevention of making will in other kinds. Chapter II sections 1655 to 1672 of the Civil and Commercial Code prescribes that in such a situation the testator might make a legally valid last will and testament orally.
- Holographic testament - section 1657 Civil and Commercial Code makes provisions for those under Thai law to make a will written completely in their own handwriting including the date it is written and their signature. This form of will is referred to as the holographic testament. This form of will does not require any third party witnesses to sign on it. Any corrections made in the will are to be in the testator’s handwriting and signed by the same person. The template of such form of will is available on the internet and you might refer to them to design your will in the correct way.
In the absence of a will in Thailand, the property is divided among your relatives according to their priority as specified in CCC Section 1629. Before the property is distributed, the Sin Somros that is half of the property would belong to the person’s husband or wife and the remaining would be distributed equally among other relatives. In case you do not want your property in this manner, it is essential that you make a will mentioning the exact manner in which you would want your property to be distributed after your demise.
When a foreigner receives a certain portion of land for a certain purpose, he or she is supposed to use that only for that purpose and nothing else. If a foreigner is willing to use his acquired land for something else, he must appeal to the minister and if the minister deems it to be fit, he could give the permission.
Your will would be a very important instrument in deciding the future of those you leave behind on the unfortunate event of your death. Your demise would most certainly prove to be a shock to your near and dear ones. Make sure you take guidance of some competent attorney so that you achieve exactly how you want your property to be handled in your absence.