We bought a property, obviously it is registered in my wife's name, as I as a foreigner cannot own the land. I was told to do a usufruct for my personal protection, but others say it cannot be done. Can I use your template usufruct, and if not registered can I get a refund.
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Keep a record of all payments made and the source
When a house is purchased with personal assets of the foreign spouse or money belonging to marital assets the house would technically (pursuant to matrimonial property laws) become a personal asset of the foreign spouse or a marital property between husband and wife. However, due to foreign land ownership restrictions and Land Office procedures, the house will be registered as a personal asset of the Thai spouse and the foreign spouse has no direct claim to the property (read more...).
Marriage and contracts between husband and wife
You could do a usufruct with your Thai wife over a property that is registered as her personal property. It gives some protection in different situations. However, and this is mainly because of the special relationship between husband and wife, matrimonial propertry laws give in section 1469 of the Civil and Commercial Code both spouses the right to void any agreement concluded between them during marriage (without grounds). This also applies to the agreed usufruct.
This means for example that a right of usufruct given by one spouse to the other during the marriage can be voided and cancelled. It will not be very easy to void a registered property right but the usufruct could in any case be terminated by a court as part of the division of assets. This also means that any payments used for the acquisition of the property made by the foreign spouse or payments from the marital assets must be returned pursuant Thai marriage and divorce laws and following the sections on 'undue enrichment'.
As the usufruct agreement can be voided the right of usufruct may not offer a full protection for the foreign spouse, and when the marriage ends (e.g. divorce) and the foreign spouse wants his investment back then he must be able to prove where the money for the purchase came from. Therefore keep proof and track of all payments you made that was used for the acquisition of the property.
The usufruct may end but you remain entitled to compensation for payments made for the purchase of the property that came from marital or your personal property. In the end that would be a court procedure and there it boils down to what kind of proof you can submit and how smart your wife is....