Buying Freehold Property In A Thai Spouse Name
Thai women that married foreign nationals pre-1998 were forced to give up their rights of land ownership in Thailand. Eventually this restriction was removed though, however, foreign husbands are still not permitted to own, or co-own, the land with their wives, but can they still buy Freehold property in their Thai Spouse name?
We’ll use the example of a Thai wife and a foreign husband because that’s the most typical relationship dynamic, but it also works the other way around.
Joint Declaration For Proof Of Funds
If you’re buying a home in Phuket in the name of a Thai wife today, you’ll need to sign a joint statement declaring that the wife paid for the house with her own money.
The property may be mortgaged or sold without the approval of the foreign spouse because he has no claim on it.
Property Agreements Between Wife & Husband
It’s been proposed that the wife may be the legitimate owner of a parcel of land that she could lease to her spouse for a period of 30 years plus.
The spouse may then pay for the construction of a property, which he could then possess through a superficies right. The husband’s right to dwell on the land would be guaranteed for the life of the lease if the wife sold it.
However, any property arrangement between a husband and wife that was formalized during marriage can be revoked at any moment by either husband or wife (or within 1 year of the dissolution of the marriage).
It also appears that the land office will not record any agreements signed between husband and wife at this time, this includes any form of long-term lease, superficies, usufruct or lifetime living rights
Inheritance of Land In Thailand
A foreign national can inherit landed property from his Thai spouse, but he cannot take legal possession of it permanently. If the wife died before her husband, he would be entitled to the property as a statutory heir, but he would not be able to register it in his own name.
As a sole non-Thai beneficiary, he is required by law to sell the land to a Thai national within a reasonable time frame (typically not longer than 180 days).
Acting as an Executor of the Estate For Thailand Inheritance
A foreigner might be appointed as executor of his wife’s inheritance. This would provide him the freedom to rent, sell, or manage the property as he sees appropriate.
However, unless the testator, a majority of the heirs, or the Court specifies otherwise, the executor of an estate must complete the distribution of assets, including the property, within one year.
Writing A Will In Thailand
If you are married to a Thai national, it is important that your spouse makes a Will – especially if you own property. If you have been legally married, you would be the statutory heir of your spouse’s estate. But to prevent any potential legal dispute between you and the Thai family, a Will is essential.