Foreign husband can be a Legatee of his Thai Wife

A THAI wife can make a last will and testament to bequeath her estate even the piece of land and house to her foreign husband. The last will and testament will preclude all her other heirs or her Thai family to share the estate with her foreign husband. The ownership of land can be put in the name of her foreign husband as the executor of estate. The right of inheritance for a foreign husband is not restricted by the laws of the Kingdom of Thailand.
In case Thai wife dies without preparation of her last will, her foreign husband will have to share the estate with her other heirs which can be children or your step-children and her parents. Some Thai women married to foreigners may have nearly a dozen children from her previous husband (s).
If she is childless, the husband will have to share the estate with her parents or even brothers or sisters if she has no parent.
The will can solve this problem.

Common Law Wife and Husband (Concubinage) or Life Partnership
Thai laws do not acknowledge either cohabitation without registration of the marriage or common law wife and husband. In this case, each of them will not be entitled to devolution of estates as statutory heir, the will can absolutely solve their problem, and other wise the circumstance of life partnership must be proved if it is not so obvious.
A life partnership is the case of a common law wife and husband living together and ostensibly treat each other as wife and husband. They jointly work and earn their living together. The properties earned during their cohabitation can be shared on partnership basis. However, there are a lot of facts, which must be ascertained by the Court.

Funeral Arrangement
Some Thai common law wives cannot arrange for the funeral of their common law foreign husbands. Most embassies will keep the corpse of their nationals in the police hospital, in order to find their relatives in their native countries. It is very tragic that the common or de facto wife in Thailand cannot do anything. To avoid this tragic situation, you may mention in the will that your common law wife can arrange for the funeral.

There is no tax for succession or inheritance or “Death Tax”. If the deceased has not any income in the year of death, it is not required to file a personal income tax return (Phor.Ngor.Dor. 91) of the deceased. The executor of estate will be a person responsible for filing in case of necessity. There is no requirement to block the estate by the government except special circumstance.

Verbalized Will
A will may be verbalized in case the testator is going to die causing him not able to make the will by other ways. There must be at least two witnesses who are required to report promptly to the District Chief to notify the date and details of the will. The Chief District will note down and ask the witnesses to sign.

The Executor of Estate
The testator may appoint the executor of estate, which can be the heir or any third parties. The executor of estate will compile the estate to allocate to the legatees.

The concept of trustee is not acceptable by Thai laws. However, to safeguard the interest of minor heirs, you may set forth a condition to prohibit the sale or disposal of real estate until your heirs become major at the ages of 20 years old, or even appoint a controller of estate, which can be either individual or corporate to look after until your minor heir becomes major.

Probate of Will
In Thailand, there is no out-of-court system to probate the will instead of going to the judicial process. However, in our experience, we have always found some banks agree to pay to the legatee who have a clear and precise will and is legally reliable by local notarization.
The Court Process to recognize the will, which is clear, precise and legally reliable, will be one-stop.
The petition to probate the will is a non-contentious process unless there is a contest by the third party. If there is no contestation, the Court will verify the authenticity and form of the will especially witnesses who will have to testify in Court for the mental and voluntary status of the testator. If case the testator and legatees are foreigner, the identity must be checked by their passport.

Contestation of the Will
The will may be contested by the statutory heirs who are disappointed by the will. The contestation must be made within one year from the date of awareness. In case of contestation, the probate process will become contentious whereby the litigants will have to prove the facts they assert. The contestation is always on the mental and voluntary status. It is advisable to make the will with the medical practitioner and psychiatrist or shrink who will make the affidavit with the video or photos showing that the testator was of sound mind without fraud or duress.

The qualified notary public should be also the witness for the execution of the will.
The Court will have a judgment in your favor or dismiss the petition. If the judgment is in your favor, you may show to the bank or land office to hand over money or transfer the land and house to you. If you are foreigner, you have to seek a permission from the Minister of Interior to hold the land not more than one rai (please see the details in the Land Code).

Jurisdiction of the Will
The testator should seek the proper advice from the local solicitor about the jurisdiction of the will. Each country has her own unique laws and requirement. The legal booby traps under Thai law should be carefully verified.

Language of the Will
The will can be made in any language. If it is made in Thai and another language, the Thai version will be prevailing.
The English language with the Thai translation is widely acceptable by Thai courts.

Please note that a will is a juristic act, which will be effective after the death of the testator who will have no chance to be aware if it is good or bad. It is advisable to study and discuss further details in any specific issues with the competent legal counsel to obtain the first hand information.