The use of a usufruct in Thailand is not very widely spread other than where a couple would buy a house in Thailand and being that a foreigner cannot own land in Thailand directly without alot of hoop jumping the husband normally will register a usufruct over the property to ensure that if they do get divorced that he has a certain amount of leverage over the property and during the divorce proceedings.
The usufruct is an agreement with the right to use and/or to occupy another person’s property for a term of up to 30 years. This agreement gives you the right to manage the property during this period. The usufruct is also used to ensure that if you place property such as a house in the name of your Thai wife, in the event of her death you would still be able to live in the property after her death. Many view the usufruct as an insurance policy in the event of divorce or death. Speak to your Thai attorney about the options if this is the primary reason for the usufruct as you need to have more than one option available in the event of death. Once you as the holder of the usufruct dies the right goes back to the owner of the property unless other arrangements had been made beforehand.
As the holder of a usufruct you cannot sell the property and you have an obligation under Thai law to maintain the property to the extent to which you had found it. As the holder of the usufruct, you become responsible for any loss in the value of the property or damage to the property. If any of these do occur the owner can have the usufruct set aside as you have breached the agreement and your responsibilities under Thai law.
If you are considering the use of a usufruct while in Thailand then speak to our attorneys about the use of the usufruct.