Preparation is key.

Where you expecting some touristy things to do?  You have most probably done many of the activities that the tourists who come to Thailand are doing. Discovering new places and attractions, trying out the many delicious Thai foods and fruits and enjoying the slow pace of life.

I am sorry, but this is not that type of list. There is more serious tone to this.

For many expats who have retired, planning to retire, or are retiring in Thailand and are living in Thailand, many of us will die in Thailand.

Is a Thai funeral expensive

Thai funeral in Thailand

A grim heading!  I agree, yet for many of us Expats, these are most neglected actions we take.

I know it will happen. I will most probably be one of the expats who will die in Thailand. I just do not know when. That’s life. We will all die one day.

Until then, to ease the difficulty of your loved ones, you need to prepare for the inevitable and I mean documentation wise.

I am sure that there are many Expats in Thailand who have not even considered the complications that would occur when they die here in Thailand.

After a horrendous week of attending to the funerals of two friends within a few days of each other, I had my lady asking what have I in place when I die in Thailand.

I, at this time was not aware of some of the complications that a NON-MARRIED person would meet.

As a British subject, I am not sure about other nationalities, but suppose that this will be a “one fits all “policy. I had to dig a little deeper.


Make British last Will and Testament in Thailand

Happy British couple

Should you be legally married to a Thai person in Thailand, this should not really affect you, but still, there are some pointers that you should take note of.

I approached a few lawyers and obtained this response.


Make your last will for the UK and Thailand jurisdictions. Will my UK cover my assets in Thailand? Do I need a Will in Thailand?

Lawyer in Thailand

(a) Following a British person’s death in Thailand, the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) Embassy in Bangkok shall be notified and release the deceased’s body to:

– if there is a Will, the named party or executor; or

– the Next-of-Kin (NOK) or closest family member.

Therefore, if the deceased is unmarried (ie single status, widower, divorced), the FCDO shall be reluctant to issue a Release Letter to a person who may or may not be the most appropriate (ie long term) position to facilitate the management of the deceased’s body.

Therefor, you have some options.

You can either:

A.  create a Power of Attorney (POA);

B.  notify the FCDO (of a nominated person);

C.  create a Will and testament

  1. Approach a recognized and legal office in Thailand, they can assist you in drawing up one of the above.


Make a Will in the UK

Last Will and Testament in Thailand

Do you want to be cremated at a temple in Thailand or have your body sent back to your country? What do you want to happen with your ashes?  All this can be drafted into your Will

Many of the Embassies or Consulates here in Thailand will have a list of referred legal offices whom you can contact.

  1. You have been living in the Kingdom of Thailand for a number of years and most probably have acquired a few assets – car, pick up, motorbike, bank accounts, Life Insurance policies, pension, etc.


Make a list of all your assets in Thailand for your Last Will and Testament

My Bike and Nissan Pick up


The Will and testament that you draw up with the lawyer can include your instructions to address the disposal or distribution of these items according to your instructions.

The THAI Will and testament in Thailand will only have jurisdiction of what you have in Thailand and NOT in your country of Nationality.

For your country of Nationality, a separate Will and testament needs to be drawn up. In most cases, the same lawyer should be able to do both.

  1. Many foreign nationals are living in areas across Thailand and not all are in the major towns or cities.

You live alone. Do you have a close friend that you are in regular contact with and possibly they have a key / access to your house or apartment?


a friend who has a key to your residence

My good friend

My friend and I had such an arrangement before I moved away. He had keys to my house and visa versa. We both had peace of mind.

  1. Aside from the above, do you have someone who visits you often, ensuring your well-being. Maybe you are doing that for someone already.

Are you a member or a frequent visitor at a bar, sports club or gym?


Social sports club friends

Running club friends

Having those contacts can be a life saver.

Have a 2nd and maybe a 3rd contact person in the event of an emergency or assistance.

Your primary contact person, hopefully you have given them your next of kin contact details and the location of your legal list of instructions or Will, in your residence.

  1. I would suggest leaving a copy of your Will and testament with a lawyer. Just remember to let your friend/s know.

I am sure that you don’t want to be discovered days or weeks afterwards.

This is not only for when the inevitable occurs, but should you fall down, have a heart attack, a stroke and you can’t reach your phone to call. Having someone who regularly calls on you, is a good thing.

Language tends to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for the non-native speakers in your language.

  1. Have a nominated Thai person whom can deal with the local authorities regarding to the legalities and formalities regarding to your funeral.

For many Thai people involved and not having your instructions can be rather difficult over this period.

  1. Do you have an emergency funeral fund in place? Funerals do cost money and those “without a penny to their name”, put the stress on those closely associated to you. It does not have to be much, but so long as the basics are covered, it all helps.

How much does a Thai funeral cost? Depending where in Thailand you are, this can range from as little as 12,000 bht and upwards. In Bangkok, A Thai funeral could cost in the region of 150,000 bht + . Each wat had prices ranging from 25,000 to 60,00 baht depending on your requirements. It also depends on how popular the wat is. The more popular the wat, the higher the cost.

There are also other expenses to consider eg: number of monks, catering food, water, gifts, cremation, etc.


Funeral of an Expat in Thailand

The Final Good Bye


Funeral at the Thai Wat temple

Thai Budhist Funeral

  1. Have a look at your Medical Insurance Policy. A number of these policies do have some cover towards your funeral expenses. Does your policy have this? Let your designated person be aware of this. Click HERE for Health Insurance enquiries.

You do not need to do this alone. Preparation is key, no matter what country you live in. Even if you decide to return to your country of Nationality, many of the key points above should still be put in place.

It is so depressing when you read in the media, after a long period of time the discovery of a deceased person or even someone who is frail and had an accident in their home.

Times have changed and we are not as sociable as we used to be in our youth. We are living in a new country and we may not have that support base as we did back home.

Have we become more selfish and disengaged with society in our years?

In times of need, it is invaluable when we can call upon our fellow friends to help.

Over the years, I have been in contact with a number of lawyers whom I would recommend.

Please note that I do not work for nor obligated to any one lawyers office here in Thailand.

As to the costs for their services, this would vary per office and also, what you require.

Although I have focused on Thailand, I would suppose this would also apply to any other country where you are an expat, Philippines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia amongst the few.


What happens if I die in an SE Asia country?

SE Asia Countries

The time to get this done is NOW! Whilst you still have your mental health and physical ability, don’t leave this to the last minute.

Once done, you can go back to your game of golf or meeting with good friends for a chat and an ice-cold beverage. Beer if you desire.

So what is the delay!. Married or unmarried, get your affairs in order.

To obtain the list of my recommended lawyers, click HERE and I will respond as quickly as I can.

For medical Insurance, click HERE.

Time for me to head out for a long awaited, ice-cold beer.


Celebrate the life of a lost Expat in Thailand

Time for an Ice Cold Beer