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(From an article of Dr. Carlo Filippo Ciambreli)
A recent study carried out by Khon Kaen University, presented by Assistant Professor Kalapapruek Piwthongngam, from the Faculty of Management Science at the E-saan Centre for Business and Economic Research, has found that foreign nationals married to women from the north eastern Isaan have boosted gross domestic product in the region by almost 9 billion baht.
Pattaya, among its many peculiarities, also holds a very "special" world-record: an overwhelming number of foreigner nationals married or living with a Thai spouse or partner, who mostly come from the north eastern region of Isaan.
Let's grab the bull by its horns: in most cases the foreign males or "Farangs", (as we call westerners here with no trace of disrespect as many wrongly think!), are attracted by younger women who, at first at least, seem to them much sweeter and feminine then their western "counterparts".
The ones happily married for over twenty years as the author of this article "know" what I mean...the others will possibly discover it later as in any marriage...I suppose!
On the other hand the "Sweet Thai girls"(as we are going to call the female partners here, disregarding their age or aspect) are usually enticed and attracted to Farangs for several reasons, among which the most important is surely one: security. For themselvesand their families.
On the grounds that the majority of the sweet-girls living and working in Pattaya come from the poorest regions of the Country, it goes without saying that security mostly means investments, especially real estate investments. A house and a piece of land for their poor families are in fact the most common dreams.
Apart from the fact that buying a tractor or a garden for your, often younger then you, father in law to help a poor family should give you pure joy, let me dispel once and all (legally speaking of course) a common opinion that is very wrong: a Farang that comes here, falls in love with a girl and buys a house (maybe after a few months or even days!),some land or a car for the family, is a reckless idiot and will loose all his money because the law can't protect him, especially because he is a foreigner. In fact, nothing could be more wrong and I dare to say that Thailand is actually one of the Countries where the strongest guarantees are offered to protect imprudent "donators".
Obviously caution is always imperative for both parts: the Farang and the Thai partner. Believe it or not, the statistics show that the girls coming from the country, especially the less educated ones, are more often victims of nasty frauds than the Farangs.
In other words, if you wish to help your partner's family, you should not only protect yourself, but also make sure that your money won't end in the wrong hands or invested in something without proper guarantees as, in case of real estate, proper documents.
So these are the two most relevant questions here:
1) WHAT A FOREIGN NATIONAL SHOULD DO TO PROTECT HIMSELF IN CASE OF INVESTMENTS IN FAVOUR OF HIS PARTNER
2) HOW CAN A FOREIGN NATIONAL HELP HIS PARTNER IN AVOIDING INCAUTIOUS LAND DEALS
To feel as the genie of the lamp is a beautiful sensation, but one day the wish could be "tirak tirak buy me a house, my family is very poor and you can use it when you want".
You might be wanting to grant such a wish, but at the same time you don't want to loose your money. What shall you do then?
Here are your answers:
1) Never, ever pay anything in cash, but with a proper legit bank transfer indicating the reason of the operation.
2) Ask a lawyer to prepare a contract for any kind of transaction you are going to do and Demand to have it signed and witnessed by the local Puyaibaan or Gamnàm and at least two other witnesses.
3) Do it with love. This may look as a "non legal" advice, but it is. We are in Thailand, where tradition and law often overlap, love opens many doors and it will be seriously taken in consideration by local courts that, let me say it without any flattering intent, are usually very just and human.
4) If you think to live with her, legally marry her.
Let's go through all mentioned points.
1) in Thailand the proof of payment is of paramount importance. It would be even better if the money legally comes from your own Country. A contract without proper proof of payment will be in most of the cases useless
2) provided that you pay with a traceable bank operation, a contract properly done, in two languages which should include Thai , would cost maybe a few baht but it will avoid you many future headaches. Make no mistake, a contract in certain cases, as we will explain in our next number, might not be a full guarantee, but it helps greatly.
3) the third point doesn't need any further explication, it will suffice to repeat and emphasize as it could have positive legal repercussions in the evaluation of a court case. At least marry her with a traditional ceremony.
4) Legal marriage guarantees to both spouses 50% of the goods purchased after the registration of the acts and details can be mentioned and specified in the marriage certificate.
But if all this will surely protect the Farang from their partners there is an other aspect which is not less important: how to protect both Farang and spouse from wrong, tricky or non legit investments. In our next number we will unveil in simple terms the "secrets" and essential knowledge you should acquire before investing in the beautiful, though sometimes difficult to understand country side.
How to protect your self and your Thai family ...
we have emphasized how "protecting ourself" could not be enough to avoid troubles. We need indeed to be sure that our partner, or the family of our partner, will not fall into some tricks them-selves. Do not forget that thai girls, especially the ones coming from the country, are normally inclined to trust their neighbors. But it is your money that we are talking about and being a Thai, knowing the language and the environment are not the only requirements necessary to avoid scams and frauds. In fact, believe it or not, I know more thai country girls who in "good faith" are victims of frauds then foreign husbands.
As I have often underlined in these pages, in Thailand the tradition is in many cases as relevant as written laws, but the time when two hundred "rais" of land (one rai is 1600 meters) could pass from one owner to another with a simple scribble on a peace of paper definitely belong to history.
Today, before buying land, you should scrupulously check the document, regardless of the reassurances of your often legally-speaking "naive" partner.
Most of the Thais are not yet aware that the registration and cataloguing system of land in Thailand is undergoing a profound reformation and, as it is happening to many aspects of society, the government seems to have one single, clear idea in mind: the law must be respected.
In our case, an easy example will clear this concept: until today, most of the people living in the country-side have been buying and selling land passing each other whatever document including the so called SBK (pronounced Soo Boo Khoo) despite the law established that a SBK can not be transferred for at least 10 years and that most of the other documents are not transferable at all. Nowadays a special force is investigating if the acting-owners of land registered with various documents are in fact the rightful owners. The risk in some cases can be the loss of the property.
The only document which guarantees the full ownership of land in Thailand is the "Chanot" (title deed) followed by the "No So Sam". The rest, including the most common and popular property-registration documents do no guarantee the "ownership" at all, but just the use of it, under specified conditions, for a certain, limited number of years.
This is why the price of land with chanot is far more expensive then the cost of land registered with different documents.
So, ask first for the title deed (chanot) and in case the seller can not produce one, remember that only some government concessions can be transferred, but that it is very unlikely that they could be transformed into a chanot as most people still wrongly believe. Should you decide to invest in a government-concession remember that any kind of contract you wish to sign in favor of your Thai family requires the presence and the bestowal of the Pu Yai Baan, the chief of the village. He will inform you and your family of the your rights, of the possibility to build on that particular land, and on the possible risks of unclear documentation in the light of the new enforced rules in Thailand.
Obviously, the advice given in our last article to foreign nationals, is also valid for their partners: therefore remember to never pay anything in cash, but with a traceable bank transfer or to write a proper cheque, to sign a contract in front of at least two witnesses and to ask for a signed copy of their IDs.
Finally just keep in mind that from next year all land will be subject to taxes as never happened before. We are indeed on the verge of an epochal changes and extreme caution is, now more then ever, necessary.
see more info regarding Pre-Marriage (Pre-nuptial) agreements.
Les Enfants de la Patrie or....
Coming soon: how to obtain legal guardianship of our child