Please excuse the dramatic click bait title, however there really is no better way to introduce this next topic. While realistically everyone understands that one day they will shuffle off this mortal coil, hardly anyone has the proper paperwork and preparations in place.
This is why Compare Return have put together the 3 ‘Three Essential Legal Documents When Living In Thailand’. If you wish to speak to a lawyer about how to progress we have put a handy booking form at the bottom.
Power of Attorney (POA)
A POA is a legal document in which you designate another person to act on your behalf to make decisions, in all matters, or in spec-ified matters, including banking and other financial issues, and health care. Special circumstances may trigger the need for a POA for any person over the age of 18. For example, you may need a POA so that someone can act on your behalf should you become incapacitated. However, incapacity isn’t the only reason you might need a POA. You many need someone to handle your affairs, if you have no spouse to do so in your absence, and you are not physically in a position to do so by yourself.
Setting Up and Terminating a Power of Attorney
To set up a legally binding POA, you must have sufficient mental capacity when the document is drawn up. POAs can be cancelled or revoked at any time simply by destroying the original document and preparing a new one, or by preparing a formal revocation document informing all concerned that the POA is no longer a valid instrument.
Who Should Have Your Power of Attorney?
It must be someone you trust as this person may have access to your bank account, securities, house, personal property and health care decisions.
What Happens If You Lack a Power of Attorney?
A person you trust can’t just “get” a POA when they suddenly realize you need one to help handle your affairs. At this point a person would normally need to have a court appoint a guardian. This entire affair is more complicated, more time consuming and more costly when a POA is not already in place. Having a Will or a Living Will is not a substitute for a POA.
A Living Will
A “Living Will” is a legal document which allows you to decide in advance what medical care and treatment you will receive if you are terminally ill and unable to specify those wishes yourself. For example, you can designate whether you wish to be kept on life-prolonging machines if there is no longer any hope that you will recover from an accident or long-term terminal medical condition, whether or not you want food or hydration, whether or not you want medication to make you more comfortable and other decisions of this nature.
A Living Will does not allow mercy killing or euthanasia. A “Living Will” in Thailand, must comply with a number of conditions in order to be valid, including the Living Will must indicate which health care the Willmaker does not wish to receive.
What Happens If You Lack a Living Will in Thailand?
The Thai Civil and Commercial Code makes no provision in relation to Living Wills. Living Wills was first recognized in Thai-land in the Health Act in 2007. In order to activate this provision of the Health Act, you must have a Living Will. Without one, it is very challenging for a medical provider to cease providing medical support even long after you are obviously terminally ill regardless of your intent and expressed wishes to others. This situation can create an undue burden on both you and those persons entrusted to care for you
If you have assets in Thailand, even bank accounts, personal property, or have minor children, it is important that you make a Will setting out who is to receive your assets, or who is responsible for your minor children, in the event of your death. In case you are a foreigner, it is often desirable to have a separate Will dealing with assets in the Kingdom of Thailand only and another Will dealing with assets in your home country. Care should be taken to ensure that neither Will revokes the other. It is usually possible to draft both Wills in Thailand. If you are an English speaker, generally a Will made in Thailand should be made in both the Thai and English language
Another key part of the equation s to ensure you are connected with a qualified financial planner. They will work in conjunction with a lawyer to ensure that your assets are passed onto your loved ones in the most streamlined process possible. For this service both Compare Return and Lanna Lawyers recommend Ryan Cullinan here in Thailand. He is a member of the UK Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments and is a level III qualified International Wealth Manager.
What Happens If You Lack a Will in Thailand
The failure to have a valid Will or Wills in place is likely to result in your estate being distributed in accordance with the laws of intestacy in either or both Thailand and your home country. Under Thai law in the absence of a Will it is often unlikely your lawful spouse, or desired heirs, will receive all of your estate in accordance with your intent.