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Letter to the editor – Getting “around tuit” – why having a Will is so important

How Samui has changed in the 12 years I have been coming to the island it has changed so much, 12 years ago the roads were full of motor bikes and Songtaew today stand on the main road in Bang Rak for an hour and you will be lucky to see three Songtaew, more Taxi’s and more privately owned cars, the roads have been upgraded which means the cars and bikes go faster the roads have become even more dangerous.

wills thailandIn my working life I write Wills, power of attorney and deal with Probate, I have been doing this for over 16 years, and have pretty much seen it all, families bickering over a nasal hair clipper to a multi-million pound estate. One of my favourites was the couple who wrote their own wills, they had two properties, he gave one to their son in his Will, and she gave the house they lived in to their daughter in hers. Simple you would think. The son lived in the house he was going to get, and the daughter lived with the parents. He died, the son got his house. Some three years later the mother died, but the son got hold of the Will and destroyed it, so the law of intestacy came in and the remaining house had to be split between son and daughter, to get the half share the brother forced the sale of the property, he now had a house and half the value of the second property in cash, meanwhile the daughter was put out of her home, could not afford to buy a property outright so had to find a smaller property and get a mortgage. Not exactly what the parents had wanted.

Making a Will is probably one of the most important things you will ever do, but where it is stored can be critical, no point having a Will if no one can find it, or the wrong people find it. All our wills are stored in water and fire proof safes, and are only given to Executors on production of an original death certificate and ID for the Executor.

In the twelve years I have been coming to Samui, I have spoken to countless people about the importance of Wills here in Thailand, all agree with me, and will one day get around to it. Each year I have meetings with people who talk about drafting Wills, the next year I find that they are no longer with us, this year alone we have lost three people who spoke to me last year about making a Will one was estranged from his partner, he had put his house, car etc in the name of his partner years ago, they fell out the partner moved off the island after three years on his own he was going to have the property ownership changed and write a Will giving his estate to his children in the UK. Sadly the guy in the truck who knocked him off his scooter didn tknow this. So he died without a will or putting his affairs in order, he had not solved his property ownership issues so his estranged partner who he hadn’t been with for over three years, just moved back in, after all it was all in his name..

So what is your reason for making a Will, if you are married to a Thai and our giving everything to them, you probably think you don’t need a Will, but the reality is that it is just easier for probate if you have a Wil., Part of writing a Will is listing your assets, how can an executor deal with them if they don’t know what you own, or where it is, you may have multiple banks, in multiple countries these countries will need to see the deed of probate (gained by the use of the Will) before they transfer monies and close accounts. Are you going to do it now, or are you just going to get “around tuit” later….

Terry is currently in Koh Samui so if anybody would like to contact him he can be reached at terry@expatwills.com

 

 

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