When a loved one passes away, the matter of dealing with their last wishes must be handled. As the family grieves, a Thai probate lawyer will gather and help the family negotiate their way through Thai Estate Administration and Probate procedures.  

Sadly, there may be instances when the family becomes involved in disputes about the deceased’s Last Will and Testament, further complicating and dragging out an already painful time. Once again, the skills of a Thai Probate lawyer become invaluable to ease and take the burden off the shoulders of the bereaved.

Drafting A Thai Last Will And Testament

Despite how unpleasant it may seem, planning for the possibility of one’s demise while abroad is something that you have to think about. Considering this, you should ideally have your Last Will & Testament prepared in both your home country and Thailand. The reason for this is that having a Will that covers Thai assets drawn up in your home country will cause delays and complications as it must be translated and submitted for approval to Thailand’s governing body.

Your transactions in Thailand become of value once you sign the contract and make an initial payment, meaning you will already have an asset to consider for your estate planning. A Thai Will covers your assets in Thailand, including personal property, vehicles, bank accounts, and investments.

Upon death in Thailand, a copy of the Will must be provided to the courts by a member of the deceased’s family or their attorney.

Thai Probate Law And Inheritance

Probate is the process whereby the Last Will and Testament of the deceased is reviewed to ensure it is valid and authentic, i.e., drawn up by the deceased while they are of sound mind and body.

Thai probate law is applicable upon the death of a person, and his property and assets are to be divided among their heirs, family members, and any others mentioned in the Will. This is a court-supervised process and is intended to protect the wishes of the deceased and their heirs while complying with Thai laws.

In terms of initiating the transfer of the inheritance in Thailand, a court order must be obtained after proving that the person or persons receiving the inheritance is either a legal heir to the deceased or that they are mentioned by name in the Will.  

According to Thai law, in terms of whether a foreigner can inherit from a deceased person in Thailand, a foreigner can inherit property from their spouse, a Thai national. However, a foreigner that inherits property this way can only take ownership of the property after approval from the Minister of The Interior and is subject to certain limits.

For those who own land under a company on a freehold basis, upon your demise, your property would not be physically inherited by your heirs. Instead, the property's value will be converted into shares and distributed accordingly. This can create incredibly complex situations requiring further litigation, yet one more reason to have a Thai Will drafted correctly.

Thai Estate Administration

A deceased person's assets in Thailand are transferred in their Will or, if no Will exists, by Estate Administration.

Estate Administration refers to the process of gathering and managing the estate of a deceased who has passed without a Will in place. This includes disbursing any debts and taxes and distributing the remaining property to the heirs.  

Traditionally before the estate is distributed among relatives of the deceased, half of the estate will be given to their spouse, should the deceased have married before their passing. The remainder of the estate will be equally distributed among the family accordingly.

According to law, when a person dies intestate or has not executed a valid will, the entire estate is distributed among their heirs.

Under Thai law, there are six classes of statutory heirs. Each class inherits in the following order:

  1. Children and Descendants
  2. Parents
  3. Siblings
  4. Half-Siblings
  5. Grandparents
  6. Uncles and Aunts

 

Under certain circumstances, the surviving spouse may also be considered a statutory heir, and there may also be instances of interested persons.

An interested person is defined as a person who has the interests related to the inheritance, such as a wife who did not legally register marriage but has acquired assets in the estate together with the deceased.

If a person passes away with no living relatives or spouse and no Thai will, the estate will fall under the administration of and be absorbed by the State.

Appointing an Estate Administrator or Executor

In cases of Probate and Estate Administration, a court must approve the legal aspects and validity of the inheritance. It will appoint an executor or administrator to handle the estate’s affairs should the need arise.

The required documents for petitioning the court for the appointment of an administrator or executor of the estate are as follows:

The statutory heirs or the interested persons are eligible to submit the petition to the court for the appointment of Estate Administrator. 

In Thailand, the court's authorisation is deemed the final judgment applicable as the confirmation document for estate administration. Whether the deceased had made a Will or not, a petition to the court for the appointment of the estate administrator must first be facilitated.

Conclusion

It is vitally important to have a Thai Last Will and Testament drafted as a foreigner. Thai Probate and Thai Estate Administration laws were put in place to ensure fairness between the heirs of the deceased assets and help alleviate the strain placed on their families and loved ones. 

While it may seem harsh that the beneficiaries of the Last Will and Testament will not be able to receive or manage any assets without a court order. It is done for the benefit of the bereaved and to prevent complications and further unhappiness that may occur through family disputes. 

Property conveyancing is the legal process that takes place when lawful ownership is obtained of immovable property. Each time a property is sold, a new transfer deed must be drawn up and registered. This ensures the security and certainty of an owner's title to their property.

If you are trying to settle a property dispute, need help with litigation regarding a property, or want to take over a property, it is advised to hire a property lawyer to help you navigate the property conveyancing process. A lawyer will help you understand the terms and conditions of a contract as well as make sure the contract conditions are respected. Additionally, if a client is dealing with a problematic tenant or landlord, a lawyer can offer advice on how to resolve any issues.

The Civil And Commercial Code Of Thailand.

Before going into the property conveyancing process, it is worth mentioning the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand (CCC). Because Thailand is a civil law country, the Thai Supreme Court opinions have a strong persuasive value as the source of all areas of Thai law, including real estate.

The Civil and Commercial Code is perhaps the single most crucial law when it comes to real estate sales in Thailand. Besides governing contracts, the CCC also creates ownership of immovable property and dictates its transfer. It also makes and controls the various rights that may be registered over immovable property, such as mortgage, lease, superficies, usufruct, charge, and servitude.

Employing The Services Of A Thai Property Lawyer.

The Conveyancer will be responsible for always protecting the interest of his client. Keeping the client up to date with the conveyancing process and informed of the progress of the transaction

Advice on the content of the Offer to Purchase and advise on the cancellation of his bond, any penalties, notice periods, and other administrative charges which may affect the settlement figure

Obtaining the client's instruction before issuing any guarantees regarding the transaction and registering the transaction on or as close as possible to the date agreed to in the offer to purchase.

Advise the seller on his obligations regarding the offer to purchase to ensure that the transfer is not delayed.

Explain and have the client sign the necessary documentation to conclude the transaction, including the deeds for lodgement to minimise the risk of rejection of the documentation by the Deeds Office.

Inform the client of the transfer on the day of registration and inform them of the finances relating to the transaction within two days after registration.

The Property Conveyancing Process.

The first thing a property lawyer is responsible for is doing an accurate property title search. This ensures that the potential purchase is legal and prevents fraudulent and illegal real estate transactions, leading to fines and or jail time. The lawyer must complete due diligence of the property.

Due diligence means that the lawyer must confirm that the sale of the property is legal. In that, the seller is allowed to sell the property before a purchase is made. This includes gathering information about the chosen property by physically inspecting the land, building permits, and any other relevant documents. The lawyer should also contact local courts to review any property buyer and seller records.

The next job of the property lawyer is to facilitate the transfer of the property title correctly, as errors may delay or even lead to the transaction being cancelled. Specifically, the lawyer will be supervising the following when transferring the title by ensuring all the required fees are paid to the Land Department. The taxes and transfer fees needed are paid directly to the Land Office in Thailand. Should the buyer not be able to do this in person, the lawyer can be authorised to do so by power of attorney.

The Foreign Exchange Transaction Certificate.

When a foreign individual decides to purchase a property in Thailand, the funds usually come from a foreign source and not from within Thailand itself. One of the reasons for this is that the Thai government wants to increase the amount of foreign currency in the Kingdom. Due to this, there is a need for a Foreign Exchange Transaction Certificate (FETC).

The FETC is precisely needed when the property will be transferred to and registered under the name of the foreign national.  This certificate provides proof that the funds required to purchase the property have come from abroad and that the foreign buyer is complying with the requirements for bringing funds into Thailand.

To be considered valid, the form must contain the amount in foreign currency, the amount converted to, and in Thai Baht, the names of the fund’s sender and receiver, the intended use of the transferred funds.

A summary of the process:

  1.       The buyer starts the process by informing the lawyer.
  2.       A draft of the sales agreement is drawn up.
  3.       Due diligence is carried out on the property, seller, and buyer.
  4.       Report back to the buyer.
  5.       The agreement between buyer and seller is signed.
  6.       The Foreign Exchange Certificate and money are obtained.
  7.       Conveyancing is now complete after payment and transfer.

                                                                                                                                     .

Conclusion

In conclusion, property conveyancing in Thailand is similar to the rest of the world. However, just like in the rest of the world, it can be tricky for those unfamiliar with it, especially if the buyer is not a Thai native. A Thai property lawyer will ensure that the client follows all the requirements laid out by the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand are carried out correctly, and everything is done in accordance with Thai law, including due diligence is conducted, drawing up sales contracts, and the transfers of foreign currency.  Keeping the client up to date and informed throughout the process. 

Many people flock to Thailand for tourists wanting a sunny vacation. The country has become a popular location for anyone interested in property investment. Foreigners purchasing condos, in particular, has become a popular trend. 

 

At the moment, Thai property laws don’t allow foreigners to buy property in Thailand. However, there are ways that foreigners can legally purchase a condo in Thailand. Thailand’s Condominium Act doesn’t have as many restrictions for foreigners buying condos. 

What is the Thailand Condominium Act 

Thailand’s Condominium Act was first passed in 1979, and since then, the Act has been amended three times. The Thai government created these amendments to ensure that the law stays relevant to the practices of the private development sector. 

 

The government made the latest amendment to Thailand’s Condominium Act in July 2008. This amendment gave condominium owners extra protection and made the existing protection measures more effective. 

 

What does “condo” mean in Thailand 

Under the Thailand Condominium Act, a condominium is a building that can be separated into different units that people can purchase. Condos can include personal and shared properties. 

 

The Act doesn’t specifically outline any details about the requirements for a property to be identified as a condominium. A building can be considered a condominium as long as it can keep ownership separate from the area. Each site will have joint ownership in the common property and private property ownership with a condominium. 

 

The condominium doesn’t need to adhere to specific space or height requirements. According to the Condominium Act, there isn’t a required minimum amount of condominium units that buildings need to have. 

 

However, under the City Planning Act and Build Control Act, buildings in Thailand have to comply with zoning regulations. For example, if you own property in region X, the Build Control Act might restrict you to only constructing a single-one level building that’s no higher than six metres.

 

In this same example, the Build Control Act might restrict the total building area to a maximum of 75 square metres. The Build Control Act might also require that the space around the building isn’t less than 75% of the land. 

What foreigners are eligible for purchasing a condo 

There are a few ways foreigners can be considered suitable for buying a condo in Thailand. Below are the following ways foreigners can be eligible for purchasing a condo in Thailand. 

Laws that foreigners need to know about buying a condo 

For foreigners who are considering purchasing a condo in Thailand, there are plenty of laws that they will need to consider. Today, the fundamental laws that foreigners need to consider are the following: 

 

There are other laws that foreigners might need to consider when buying a condo in Thailand. These different laws will mean that you need to consult a property lawyer to assist you with the other legalities in the buying process. 

Consider consulting a property lawyer. 

Before you finalise any condo purchase, you should consult a property lawyer. A lawyer will be able to assist you with the legalities of buying a condo in Thailand. 

 

A lawyer will also be able to conduct background checks on the building and the seller. In some cases, you might need a lawyer who will also be helpful if you have to deal with a big problem with buying a condo in Thailand. 

How to hunt for a condo 

When looking for a condo in Thailand, there are different ways that you can go about it. You can choose other methods depending on your situation. 

Real Estate Agent 

You can get in touch with a real estate agent and ask them to assist you with finding a condo that suits your needs. Agents are a handy resource for foreigners looking to buy a condo in Thailand. 

 

Agents will often be connected to sellers, and they will work on advertising both old and new properties. Usually, an agent will give you a list of condos that will fit your budget and your needs. They might even assist with applying for a loan from a bank. 

 

Contacting a real estate agent will save you a lot of time and hassle. You won’t have to pay for a real estate agent to help you look for a condo. The agent will get paid from the percentage of the money they get from when the condo is sold. 

Search for a condo online 

Another way to find a condo in Thailand is to search online. Searching online is possibly the easiest way to find a condo to buy in Thailand. 

 

You can even search online to find a real estate agent in Thailand to assist you. Plenty of real estate agents will showcase their information on their websites. 

 

Many real estate websites will advertise condos as an investment. Because investments are often seen as investments, most websites will showcase condos in affluent or good locations. 

 

The websites will also share how you will be expected to pay for booking fees and down payments. Just keep in mind that what you see online might not be accurate, so it will be best to visit the condo before you make the purchase. 

Check out local showrooms and information boards. 

When you’re searching offline for a condo to purchase in Thailand, it’s always best to do your research in person. You can do this by visiting the showrooms of new property developments. You can contact the office staff for older properties and inquire about buying options. 

 

There will be a salesroom built for new condos under construction, especially with showrooms for prospective condo owners. Older buildings will also have information boards for owners to share photos and information about condos available for purchase. 

The process of purchasing a condo in Thailand 

With buying a condo in Thailand, it’s essential to know what to expect or what’s expected from you during the process. 

What are your rights and obligations? 

Knowing and understanding your rights and obligations is extremely important when buying a condo in Thailand. You might not be familiar with Thailand’s property laws and processes, which will most likely be different from your country’s laws. 

 

A lawyer will be handy with understanding these rights and obligations when you’re buying a condo in Thailand. They will be able to assist you when you’re signing the necessary paperwork because they will be in Thai. 

 

Employing a reputable lawyer will ensure that you aren’t being scammed by reading through the contract. The lawyer will ensure that it is transparent and above board. This step might seem unnecessary, but it’s important because you won’t sign the English legal contracts. 

 

It’s also important to remember that the seller is trying to sell their property to you, and they might try to bend the truth a little so the property will sell. This can happen even if the seller has good intentions. 

Check the dates for condos under construction. 

This step is essential when purchasing new condos in Thailand that are still under construction. In most cases, if you decide to buy a condo that’s off-plan, you will be given a projected finish date instead of a fixed date. The date will only become more fixed when the construction gets closer and closer to completion. 

 

In these contracts, the developers will often include clauses about the construction delays. 

For example, a clause might state that if there is a delay for more than a certain amount of days, you as the buyer might be entitled to some kind of compensation. 

 

Official documents 

When buying a condo in Thailand, there are some essential legal documents that you will need for the purchase and the registration of your new condo. 

 

You will also need to have copies and the originals of your official documents, such as your visa, work permit, and passport. If you’re purchasing a condo under a Thai national’s name, you’ll need their identity document and another form of ID. 

 

The following document you’ll need and probably the most obvious is the contract. The contract will contain all the required information about your condo, including the fees and the timetables (if you’ve decided to purchase a new condo). The contract will include information about the procedures, payments and registration of your condo. 

 

You'll need the third official document is the Foreign Exchange Transfer forms (FET). The FET forms were previously known as Thor Thor 3 forms. These forms show that you’ve transferred the money for the condo purchase from abroad, and it has arrived in Thai baht.  

 

This form is crucial because the money required will arrive in Thailand in its original currency. Only then will the Thai bank convert the funds from the original currency to the Thai baht. 

 

If you’re going to make multiple transfers for your purchase, you will need numerous FET forms. So, for example, if you made three transfers, you will need three FET forms. 

Taxes and Fees 

When you get to the transfer stage in the process, there will be some fees that you will need to pay, and they will need to be included in your contract. As a buyer, you might be responsible for the transfer fees. 

 

When you move into your condo, you will need to pay money into the sinking fund. This fund is the initial money paid by new condo owners. You might have to pay for installing an electric metre and water in some cases. 

 

Just remember that you, as the buyer, shouldn’t be responsible for stamp duty or business tax. These taxes and fees are the responsibility of the seller. 

 

When the taxes and transfer fees have been paid, you will get a Tabien Ban book. You will get a yellow book if you’re a foreigner and a blue book for Thai nationals. This book is an important document, especially if you want to sell your condo at a later stage.

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