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Dispelling Confusion About Spousal Rights in Thai Property

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Property specifically in the context of a spouse of a Thai national; so a foreign spouse in particular of a Thai national. A recent comment came to my attention; we did another video on spousal property rights and there was some good interaction in the comments on that but a recent comment that I thought and I am not doing this to point anyone out or to shine a spotlight on anyone to say “you are wrong”, that is not my purpose. It elucidated something that is a real misconception broadly out there on this topic and the staff and I, again I am an American Attorney not a Thai Attorney. I am the Managing Director of the firm and a naturalized Thai citizen but I end up having to liaise on this stuff. This has been vetted by our Thai team here and by the Attorneys there and I am just providing this for informational purposes. But this, again and not to put anyone on the spot but this was a comment on that video.

Quoting directly: "I am not a lawyer but came across this same situation buying a 12 Rai farm in E-san 5 years ago. I was sitting down waiting for my wife to complete the transaction, the registration person asked who I was. My wife told him I was her husband and he called me over and asked for my passport. I asked him why because I had no interest in her farm. He told me I needed to have my name on the deeds; 1. for divorce and 2. for her death. Quote: "If she divorces, you get half." Well that basically is not the case. What we were talking about in that prior video is spouses in major transactions specifically transactions that are required to be done in writing, akin to the Statute of Frauds in a common law tradition where certain things like title deeds have to be done in writing, Thai Law has certain formality requirements associated with for example conveyancing of property. In this case I think what this person is misunderstanding, they are not on the deed or the Chanote, the Thai property title; they are just acknowledging that that spouse is coming into that property and is being placed on there per the Thai Civil and Commercial Code and we got into that in another video on this channel. In the event of, and we have gone into this a little bit in other videos, in the event of the death of that spouse there may be some probate rights and in the event of divorce, there may be circumstances where the value of that property may be offset against the rest of the marital estate. 

But long story short, foreign Nationals with limited exceptions and we have gone through that in other videos, we are not going to totally get into that here, but with limited exceptions, foreign Nationals are not allowed to be on Thai property title. Now  this person did not specify to the best of my knowledge whether or not they were a Thai national, they may be Thai and in that case yeah they may be on the Chanote but if they are a foreign national, no they do not have direct property ownership rights in that Chanote under the circumstances described. 

Now there may be more nuance to this that we are not seeing so I am not going to state that definitively but long story short, no, as we have discussed in other videos, yes acknowledgment of a spouse as to purchase of property, because that has to do with marital estate and possible future probate issues or what they call succession issues here, that may weigh into that. So for that reason they have to deal with an acknowledgment associated with the purchase of that property.