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Can A Foreigner Inherit Property in Thailand?

This is always a cause for debate within the expat community here in Thailand. Can A Foreigner inherit property in Thailand?
This is always a cause for debate within the expat community here in Thailand. Can A Foreigner inherit property in Thailand? Well, I am glad to say the answer is YES. But there are a few restrictions to it!

Can A Foreigner Inherit Property in Thailand?

This has always been a real matter of discussion here in Thailand between expats. So ThaiWills.com are here to set the record straight. The answer is YES. Sort of.

If any foreigner is held in any of the classes of statutory heirs, detailed under section-1629 of the Civil and Commercial Code. Then, technically a foreigner can also inherit the property of the deceased.

But, as with all things here in Thailand for Expats, it comes with a few restrictions to it. Those being that, the foreigner cannot register himself or herself as the owner of such property as they are not Thai nationals. And also, as per Thai rules, after the inheritance been bequeathed, foreigners have to dispose of the property within one year.

If the foreigner fails to dispose of the inherited property within a year, then the Director-General of the Land Department has the authority to dispose of the property. And the land department will then retain 5% of the sale price, as a fee.

Marrying A Thai Has It’s Privilages.

If a foreigner marries a Thai national, and that Thai national then dies, then the foreigner will need to file an application to the director-general for the Ministry of the Interior, seeking permission for inheritance of the property, that belonged to his or her Thai spouse. The Minister of the Interior has to assess the situation and grant a permit to the foreigner so that the inheritance of the property can go ahead[1].

Can A Foreigner Inherit Property? Should a foreigner marry a Thai national, the foreigner does, under Thai Law, still have the right to inherit the property and any assets of the that Thai national. At least up to 50% should no Will be in place.

Finally, should a foreigner inherit any property, and they don’t automatically register the property in their name at the Land Register. This delays the requirements of the Land Department Forced sale of 1yr. And in theory keep the foreigner in the property indefinitely, or until such times as they wish to sell.  But don’t do this, it really isnt a good idea.

If You Inherit, You Basically Have A Year To Sell.

However, as per Land code ‘if any foreigner who receives permission from director-general to hold property but they failed to observe the conditions prescribed by the appropriate authority. Then, the property should be disposed of within the prescribed time limit by the director general’[2].

Every foreigner in Thailand is eligible to own a condo in Thailand. Inheriting any property and having this property, will not disqualify the foreigner from doing so[3].

Generally, if the Thailand government enters into any treaty with other nations regarding owing of property in Thailand, then foreign nationals can also own the property in Thailand. But at this point, Thailand has not entered into any treaty with any other countries.

Just One More Thing…

As per our best Columbo impression… One more thing, Section-87 of the land code explains the maximum amount of land which can be owned by foreigners and if the foreigner holds excess than the prescribed limit then the appropriate authority directs the foreigner to sell off the property[4].

And if any foreigner acquires any land unlawfully or without the permission of the director-general then within 180 days and not more than one year, such property has to be disposed of and if the foreigner doesn’t dispose of the property, then the director-general will have the power to dispose of it[5].

Also, if any Thai national owns any property and changes their nationality then they are treated as foreigners and they can hold only as much as a foreigner can hold[6].

In Conclusion, Regards ‘Can A Foreigner Inherit Property?’

Can A Foreigner Inherit Property? At the end, Thailand legislation does allow for foreigners to hold the property in Thailand, in two ways. One is by inheritance, as already discussed and the other is with the permission of the director-general. Both, as with everything here in Thailand for expats, have their restrictions.  

If you would like to discuss if Can A Foreigner Inherit Property, with ThaiWills.com, our affiliated lawyers here in Thailand. Then please do get in touch with the team here at ThaiWills.com. We will be only too happy to help.

[1] The Land code, §.93, (Thailand)

[2] Supra Note: 1, §.92

[3] The Condominium Act, §.19 (Thailand)

[4] Id. §.93

[5] Id. §.94

[6] Id. §.95

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