Thai Will and Succession

The topic of inheritance can be sensitive and complex, especially when dealing with different legal systems across borders. This guide explores the essential aspects of Thai Will and Succession, empowering individuals with knowledge to plan and navigate the transition of their assets after their passing.

Intestacy vs. Having a Will:

In Thailand, the distribution of assets follows the laws of intestacy if an individual dies without a valid will. This means the government dictates how the estate will be divided among surviving family members, potentially leading to outcomes that don't align with the deceased's wishes. Conversely, having a well-drafted will allows individuals to:

  • Specify beneficiaries: Clearly identify individuals or entities who will inherit specific assets or a portion of the estate.
  • Minimize legal complexities: A will can simplify the inheritance process for beneficiaries and minimize potential disputes.
  • Appoint an executor: Designate a trusted individual to manage the estate and ensure the will's instructions are carried out.

Types of Wills in Thailand:

Thai law recognizes two primary types of wills:

  • Holographic Will: Entirely handwritten and signed by the testator (the person making the will). It requires two witnesses who must be at least 18 years old and sound mind, and they must add their signatures and addresses beside the testator's signature.
  • Notarial Will: Drafted and signed in the presence of a Notary Public and two witnesses. This format offers greater assurance of authenticity and may be preferable in complex situations.

Important Considerations for Thai Wills:

  • Age requirement: The minimum age to create a valid will in Thailand is 20 years old.
  • Mental capacity: The testator must be of sound mind and capable of understanding the implications of their decisions while creating the will.
  • Language: While wills can be drafted in any language, an official translation may be necessary for legal purposes if the document is not in Thai.
  • Registration: While not mandatory, registering the will with the local District Office can provide additional security and proof of its validity.

Key Points to Include in a Thai Will:

  • Testator's details: Full name, identification number, and residence address.
  • Beneficiaries: Clearly identify individuals or entities who will inherit assets, specifying the nature and portion of the inheritance.
  • Guardianship: If the testator has minor children, appoint a guardian to oversee their care and manage their inheritance until they reach adulthood.
  • Executor: Appoint a trusted individual to manage the estate and ensure the will's execution.
  • Signature and witnesses: The will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses who meet the legal requirements mentioned previously.

Additional Considerations:

  • Foreigners residing in Thailand: Foreign nationals residing in Thailand can draft a will that complies with either Thai law or their home country's laws, depending on their wishes and circumstances. Seeking legal advice from professionals familiar with both legal systems is crucial in such situations.
  • Tax implications: Depending on the value of the estate and the relationship of the beneficiaries to the deceased, inheritance taxes may apply in Thailand. Consulting a tax professional is advisable to understand and manage potential tax liabilities.
  • Updating the will: Regularly reviewing and updating your will is recommended to reflect any changes in your circumstances, such as the birth of children, marriage, divorce, or changes in your assets or wishes.


Understanding Thai Will and Succession empowers individuals to plan their legacy and ensure their assets are distributed according to their wishes after their passing. While creating a will can be a sensitive topic, proactively addressing these issues can bring peace of mind and minimize potential complications and disagreements amongst loved ones in the future. Consulting with a qualified lawyer specializing in Thai inheritance law is essential to ensure your will is legally sound and effectively addresses your specific needs and circumstances.

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