Making a will may not be very high up on your list of priorities for many reasons, you many not think that your assets are big enough to bother about making one, you may think that you are far too young and death is so far off it is way too early to make one, you may not realise that in order for your assets to end up where you want them to go, you must make a proper will in Thailand and this does not mean leaving a hand written note in your safe. Another common misconception is that your friends and family know your wishes and if you did suffer an untimely death they would ensure those you wanted to benefit from your death would, well that is where you are wrong. You may think that your current girlfriend or wife will get your assets, or perhaps you don’t want anybody to know your real name or where you live. You may not want anybody to know what you are worth.
Dave arrived in Thailand ten years ago, like many others he did not intend to settle down here, he was just passing through, but, having fallen in love with the place and a young girl called Noi at 34 he decided to stay. During his nine year relationship with Noi he brought some land, built a house, bought a car, found himself a business partner, took a long lease on a property and started working. The first few years were fine, but around year six Dave started to notice large sums of money missing from his business and Noi was asking him for more and more money for all kinds of reasons, to help out her family, to help a friend in debt, to buy gold….the list went on. Around this time he also started to notice that the relationship between Noi and his business partner Frank had changed. He thought they were having an affair and for this reason started to stash his own cash in a secret bank account he took out and started to put plans in place to sell his shares in the business, and the new lease he had taken out when his business expanded. It was about this time he met Joy, a girl who captivated his heart. After a few more turbulent years with Noi he decided enough was enough, and moved into a small bungalow he had built several years before, to house his parents who were frequent visitors, after a few months Joy moved in with him. He continued to save money in his secret bank account that was now in excess of a million baht. He was in a position to help out a friend by lending him a couple of hundred thousand, he gave Joy the deposit for a car that she got on a finance deal and made a mental note to himself to pay back a good friend who lent him a few hundred thousand baht to start his business after hearing the man had fallen on hard times. Life seemed to only get better, he found a buyer for his shares in his company he was now desperate to get rid of, Noi had let Frank move into his house and a good friend was showing great interest in buying his lease. He got home to tell Joy the good news, only to find she has more for him, he was to become a father at age 44 and he only had four and a half months to wait. Dave was so happy, he loved Joy with all his heart and wanted nothing more than to share his life with her and decided it was time to get Noi out of his life, out of his house and move on with his life.
Sadly for Dave this was never to happen, his undiscovered heart condition abruptly ended his life days after he found out Joy was pregnant. It would be nice to think that he died knowing that the love of his life and his unborn child were provided for but having not made a will this was not the case. Dave would have wanted Joy to have all of his assets but because his relationship with Noi had been for over eight years and they still had joint assets she was able to prove in court that she was the rightful benefactor, she got both of his houses, the shares in his company and the remainder of the lease on his building. She got his car, and what she wanted from his personal possessions. Joy got nothing, was left homeless and left with a handful of Dave’s personal possessions even though she knew he would have wanted her to have his things. She did manage to get his signet ring that she found for sale in a gold shop not long after Noi took it, however she had to borrow the money to get it and of course with no income for the payments she lost the car. Of course if there had been a will things would have been different, Joy hated Noi, but one thing that Noi did not get was the 1.4 million baht Dave put away for a rainy day in his secret bank account, nobody knew it was there. His friend that leant him the money to start his business, who was now on very hard times, never got back his investment in Dave and the guy that Dave leant some money to, never paid it back, despite knowing that Joy was alone and penniless in the world. Dave would have hated that. His friends and family knew his wishes, but in the eyes of the court this meant nothing. Dave’s family took his body back to the UK, something else he would not have wanted, he would have wanted to be cremated here in Thailand and have his ashes close to the girl he loved and his little boy that was born four and a half months later, his parents never knew his wishes.
Even if your life is not as complicated as Dave’s, making a will is so important. Not only to ensure that your assets end up in the right hands, but also to make sorting out your affairs easier for those already struggling to cope with your death.
On Saturday Terry Le Long, a UK will writer and the Regional Chairman of the Society of Will Writers, will be back in Samui, this is an opportunity for you to ensure that you leave all your affairs in order, and not end up like Dave. Terry can help you with questions such as
What will happen to your overseas assets if you do not have a will in your home country, what will happen to leases that are in your name, what happens if you are living with your partner but you are unmarried, and did you know that without a will in Thailand your ex-spouse, even if you are divorced, back in the UK can claim a percentage of your Thai assets?
Other things you need to consider include what happens if you lose mental capacity, your will does not come into play while you are still alive, who will deal with the day to day running of your assets, pay bills, loans, car insurance, taking money out of your bank account? To make sure that your estate can still function, you need power of attorney completing “before” anything happens, when it does, it’s too late….
There is no formal measure in Thailand for gaining Power of Attorney after you have lost capacity…. So your accounts will be frozen, till you die, then your will takes over. But how do you live meantime? How does someone access your bank accounts to pay bills…. Who will sign your company balance sheet each year, what about your visa?
For UK assets, after losing capacity, someone has to apply for a “deputyship order” from the Court of Protection, this is currently at a cost of around 3 to 4 thousand pounds and will take a minimum of 5 months to gain, just because you didn’t have a power of attorney in place prior to losing capacity.
A Will is the ultimate Insurance Policy, making sure what is yours goes to whom you choose and is administered by someone you chose and trust.
If you think you would benefit from meeting Terry then please contact him on 0898 220586 or mail him on firstname.lastname@example.org for a free no obligation chat, don’t leave you estate to chance…..
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