thai law isn’t simple

Thailand inheritance laws: last will or testament

A will is something you know you have to deal with but you don't really want to, but remember that a last will and testament insures your assets are given to those who you have entrusted your estate to upon your death. If you have not made a last will your wishes may not necessarily be carried out.

Read more: Foreigners and inheritance in Thailand

Marital home, but is it a marital asset?

Home ownership registration on your Thai spouse's name

When a Thai national married to a foreigner requests ownership registration of land in Thailand the Land Department must insure that the land becomes a personal (non-marital) asset of the Thai spouse only. The reason is because foreigners are not allowed to own land in Thailand, not even as a jointly owned marital property. The Land Department will ask from the foreign and Thai spouse a joint declaration that the money expended on the land (or land and house) belongs to the Thai spouse's personal assets (Sin Suan Tua), and therefore (under Thai laws governing property of husband and wife) will remain a personal (non-marital) asset of the Thai spouse (pursuant to section 1472 Civil and Commercial Code).

Read more: Land Ownership Thai Spouse

Land titles: ownership and claims of use or possession

Land titles for private use can be issued by the Land Department or other government departments in Thailand. The title allows certain private use and grants certain rights to use, possess, own or transfer rights to a specified area of land in Thailand. Only the Chanote or Nor Sor 4 Jor is a true ownership land title deed in Thailand.

Read more: Land Titles and Owneship Deeds

Real estate lease and rental contracts in Thailand

Hire of immovable property (land, house, condominium) for residential purpose by foreigners is governed by civil and commercial Code sections 537 to 571 (law text copied below) and further specified by the Thailand Supreme Court. Foreigners are under Thai law allowed to lease real estate property for up to 30 years and the law is applied in the same manner if the lessee is a foreign or Thai national.

Read more: Legal aspects of lease and tenancy laws in Thailand

Divorce law in Thailand

Divorcing under Thai divorce laws

In general a marriage in Thailand is terminated by death, divorce or being cancelled by the court. In Thailand there are two ways of divorcing, this can be done through a court procedure (contested divorce) or by the Marriage Registrar upon mutual request (uncontested divorce). In an uncontested divorce, when both husband and wife agree to end the marriage, the Registrar of marriages (local Amphur) has the authority to end the marriage.

Read more: Legal divorce in Thailand

Supplemental contracts in a lease

As foreigners are not permitted to own land in Thailand the standard contract under which real estate is 'sold' to foreigners is a lease. Residential leasehold housing and apartment projects in the tourist areas often include service and maintenance agreements as an integral part of the lease. Services delivered and the annual price increases are often determined by the developer and as these contracts are an ongoing financial burden it is important to undertand the importance of these contracts before accepting the lease.

Read more: Management and maintenance contracts in a lease

Marriage registration in Thailand

Marriage in Thailand is governed by the Civil and Commercial Code book 5, sections 1435 to 1535. A marriage (section 1457) can take place only if the man and woman (who are at least 18 years old) agree to take each other as husband and wife, and such agreement must be declared publicly before the Registrar in order to have it recorded by the Registrar. Marriage in Thailand is created and completed on formal registration and inclusion in the government's marriage register.

Read more: Marriage in Thailand

Apartments and Condominium License

Buying a condo unit in a building registered under the Condominium Act is not the same as 'buying' a unit in a building having no condominium license under condominium laws nor a condominium registration with the Thailand Land Department. On the outside the buildings could look the same but a true licensed condominium offers actual legal ownership, the other offers possession of the units under a contract structure (not true ownership).

Read more: Phuket Samui Holiday Apartments

Prenuptial agreement in Thailand

Thai marriage and family laws in Thailand stipulate that personal property (everything you owned and owed before the marriage) remains personal property of each spouse during the course of the marriage (section 1471 civil and commercial code). A prenuptial agreement in Thailand will commonly list personal assets of each spouse and could during the course of the marriage give sole management over certain marital assets to one of the spouses.

Read more: Prenuptials in Thailand for foreigners

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