Leaving Your Freehold Condo To Your Family?
Make Sure You Dot Your ‘I’s’ and Cross Your ‘T’s’
Life’s been good to you over the years and you’ve immensely enjoyed your tropical lifestyle here on the island in all its glory. Those sultry Andaman breezes invigorated your senses and kept you feeling youthful with more sun and fun than you knew what to do with.
However as the years tick on and those grey hairs and wrinkles become more prevalent, you know it’s paramount to get your legal papers and assets in order. The last thing we want is to leave our family with any problematic issues after we’ve sailed into the sunset with a one-way ticket.
Moreover, this is vitally important for those westerners who have a non-Thai wife or children when owning a condominium.
Now presuming you as a foreigner have a legally registered freehold condo in Thailand, according to the Condominium Act of Thailand, obstacles may arise for those transferring the condo’s ownership (in whole or partially), to their spouse or kids.
Firstly, let’s look at a brief summary on what Section 19 of the Condominium Act of Thailand asserts…
Condominium ownership by a foreigner can be obtained by being able to show ample proof that he or she qualifies through one of five methods, which are:
1) Evidence is shown of a permit to possess residential status in the Kingdom under the laws of immigration.
2) Evidence is shown of a permit to enter the Kingdom under the laws on promotion of investment.
3) Evidence is shown of having a company that is registered according to Thai law.
4) Evidence is shown of possessing a certificate of promotion under the Thai laws pertaining to promotion and investment.
5) Evidence is shown that foreign currency has been brought into the Kingdom from abroad for the sole purpose of purchasing a condominium unit. Or, evidence must be presented of monies withdrawn from a Thai bank account, and that account bears the person’s name whose residence is located abroad. Or, evidence may be presented of withdrawn funds of ‘foreign currency’ in the amount of not less than the purchase price of the condominium.
Therefore, if a deceased owner of a condo has bestowed the freehold ownership via their will to a ‘non’-Thai wife or children, or if those non-Thais inherit the condo via inheritance laws, the inheritor must meet one of the five aforementioned criteria to retain permanent ownership.
If the inheritor fails to conform to any one of the above five specifications, then the condominium must be discarded within one year thereafter. Additionally, an alien who inherits a condominium via a will or otherwise, must report said inheritance to an official.
So once you pass your condo to your descendants, and if they can’t maintain ownership, the unit must then be sold within 365 days, or, they must provide proof of resources to repurchase said unit.
Furthermore, if the condo is sold to a 3rd party, it’s been known that transferred funds deriving from such a sale, can be legitimately sent out of the Kingdom to the legal beneficiaries.
A helpful solution to avoid any potential complications, is to register ownership of the unit in mutual names of your heirs at the onset of purchase. Or, use a corporate identity located offshore to substitute registered ownership in the buyer’s name.