When There Is No Will Or No Valid Will
If you die without a will or without a valid will, or if your will only disposes of part of your estate, the Civil and Commercial Code rules that your property will be distributed among your heirs. This method of distribution may differ from the laws of your home country and may not comport to your desires, which is why we recommend that you execute a will. There are two kinds of heirs: by blood and by marriage. Blood heirs are:
The six classes of heirs listed above will not all inherit your assets. This listing shows the sequence of who has rights of inheritance (in the case that those of higher recognition do not exist). However, heirs in classes 1 and 2 are entitled to inherit assets at the same time.
An heir who is a legally married spouse - the marriage needs to be registered - is entitled to inheritance as are blood heirs in classes 1 and 2. Legally married spouses who are separated still have rights to the assets.
When there is a surviving spouse, the Civil and Commercial Code provides for the following division of assets:
- Children - including adopted children and children who are born under unregistered marriage that are confirmed by the father and grandchildren.
- Brothers and sisters of the same parents (whole blood)
- Half-brothers and -sisters (sharing one parent)
- Uncles and aunts
When there is no surviving spouse, the assets are divided according to the following distribution method:
- If you are survived by your spouse and children, the spouse receives fifty percent and the children receive fifty percent of die assets divided equally between the children and grandchildren (if there are no surviving children).
- If you are survived by your children and your parents, the children receive fifty percent of the estate and the parents receive fifty percent.
- If you are survived by your children but no spouse or parents, the children will receive all of your property.
- If you are survived by your spouse and your parents, the spouse receives fifty percent of the assets and your parents receive fifty percent. (This may be applied differently if your parents are not Thai and live outside of Thailand - which is another good reason to have a written will.)
- If you are survived by your spouse and siblings of whole blood, the spouse receives fifty percent of the assets and the siblings receive fifty percent.
- If you are survived by your spouse and heirs in classes, 4, 5, or 6 above, the spouse receives two thirds of the estate and the blood heirs in 4, 5, or 6 are entitled to receive the remaining one third split into equal shares.
- If blood heirs do not exist, the surviving spouse receives the entire estate.
In Thailand, it is very common to have an executor who manages the assets of the deceased and distributes them among the heirs. In the normal course, when there is a will, it will be presented to the court for consideration. The court will make a determination as to the validity of the will and the stated intent of the deceased. It may be presented to the court by a surviving spouse or oilier family member, an attorney for the deceased, the individual named in tile will as the executor, or anyone else with an interest in the will or possession of it. Once legally approved, the court will issue letters of testamentary authorizing the executor to take appropriate action to identity and collect the assets of the deceased and to make distribution of those assets. The court will also issue such other instructions as necessary.
An executor is either named by the testator or assigned by the court. An executor assigned in your will must have the following qualifications:
- If you die with no surviving spouse, the blood heirs are entitled to receive the entire estate divided into equal shares. For example, if you die leaving no spouse but children, the children (and/or your parents) receive the entire estate in equal shares. If you die leaving no spouse or children but have surviving parents, the parents receive the entire estate in equal shares.
- In the case that there are no heirs or anyone designated to receive the assets, the assets become the property of the State or the general public.
An executor assigned by court order will be one of the following;
- Be over twenty years of age.
- Have full mental capacity.
- Not be declared bankrupt by a court.
Because the court will consider the qualifications of the executor to manage the assets of your estate, it is not necessary for the heirs to approve the executor. However, a blood heir or a person stated in the will, someone with an interest in the estate such as a spouse who did not register the marriage; or a prosecutor may object to the appointment of an executor. To object to an assigned executor, the person who objects must send a request to the court that has jurisdiction over the death before the distribution of assets.
- A blood heir or a person stated in your will.
- Someone with an interest in your estate such as a spouse from an unregistered marriage.
- A prosecutor.