Estate Planning for Expats in Thailand

Estate planning should be a fundamental concern for every family, but it is especially important for expatriate families living abroad. The laws in Thailand that deal with inheritance and guardianship are likely to differ from your home country. If you pass away or become incapacitated in Thailand without a will or any guardianship arrangements, then Thai law will most certainly apply to your assets and very well could seriously complicate any intentions you may have had in relation to who is to look after your minor children.

Estate planning is uncomfortable but necessary

We don’t want to think that anything bad will happen to us, convincing ourselves that we’ll have plenty of time to “think about it later”, but in doing so, we leave our loved ones unprotected. Who will receive which assets? What are the tax consequences? What happens to your minor children? Will the guardians you want be the guardians your children end up with? These are just a few of the questions that, with a little advanced planning, can be answered the way you want.

Wills are not intended to be static, so even if you already have an existing will, once you move to Thailand (or anywhere), or you experience material changes in your life (you buy a condo, get a new life insurance policy, invest, open a business, get married, have children, etc.), you’ll want to ensure that these life changes are covered by your will, and that your will is valid in Thailand. This also applies to living wills and living trusts. For example, living wills in Thailand are strictly related to medical care and not to asset management in the event of incapacitation. Also, if you pass away in Thailand without a will in place, your heirs have a year to file a claim to your estate in Thai courts. That year is usually counted from when they are notified of your death, but that can be contested and extended. Again, better to have a will filed to avoid any confusion or delay.

Are individual estate plans needed in every country you’ve lived in?

While some experts may claim that you should have a will in place for every jurisdiction you own assets, this is not always the case. Consult the expertise of reputable attorney who has experience in these matters because you just may be able to keep things simple. Assets aside, it is important that you clearly understand what steps you should take to ensure your children are taken care of.

GPS Legal understands estate planning in Thailand and abroad

GPS Legal has a team that is not only well-practiced in Thai inheritance and custody laws but is also familiar with how things work in other jurisdictions. Beyond that, GPS Legal has contacts and associations with law firms around the globe to ensure that the rights of you and your family are protected, especially when you are feeling the most vulnerable. Contact us today for an initial free consultation.


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