Inherited property 2
Regarding K. Teeradech’s reply on inherited property (See http://www.phuketgazette.net/issuesanswers/details.asp?id=192), the answer given was correct, but I thought it should be expanded to say that the gift becomes the Thai wife’s personal property rather than the common property of the couple. The spouse, whether foreign or Thai, has no claim on it.
Asked on Friday, August 10, 2001 | 11:36 PM
Guenter Bellach, Thalang.
Your understanding is correct in that foreigners may not own land. However, the husband is entitled by law to 50% of any property acquired by the wife during the marriage (and vice versa). It is easier if the land is registered in the Thai spouse’s name, otherwise the couple will have to form a Thai company, making ownership more complicated. If the couple divorces, the land can be sold and the proceeds split evenly between the husband and wife.
We know that most of the Thais buying land these days are married to foreigners, and it is the foreigners’ money that is paying for it. Thailand needs this money. The main thing we want to ensure is that the land is registered in the name of a Thai. If the Thai-foreign couple come to see us together to register a change of ownership, then we ask the foreigner to sign a document certifying that the money used to buy the land is from the Thai alone, and that the land will not be part of any divorce proceedings. But if the Thai comes without his or her partner, we have no way of knowing they are married to a foreigner, and most of the time we don’t even ask. The most important thing for us is to ensure that the person who owns the land is Thai.