When there is a will, there is a way, even in China
Traditionally Chinese try to write their wills as late as possible to avoid bad luck, but that has changed and people are now lining up to write them
Despite tradition dictating it being taboo in Chinese culture, people are lining up to write their wills – and the registration service is booked through to December 2019.
Writing wills in China has now become a trend. More than 7,500 Beijing seniors have signed up for an appointment at the China Will Registration Centre, according to a report in the China Youth Daily.
Ironically, some will have to wait one year for the first appointment.
In traditional Chinese culture, it is taboo to write a will or prepare for a funeral in advance. People believe that talking about death may cause bad luck. Also, an early split of one’s wealth may result in disputes among children.
The China Will Registration Centre, which has offered more than 100,000 free consultations and archived about 82,000 wills since its establishment in 2013, said the older the customers, the harder they find it making a will due to worsening health.
From 2013 to 2017, about 64% of Chinese senior citizens do not have a will because they were not capable of completing the necessary formalities on their own.
Because of this, Beijing’s senior citizens have become more open-minded when it comes to writing wills. Some senior citizens have been seen lining up outside the will registration office early in the mornings and the registration service is booked through to December 2019.
And it’s not only the seniors – young people in Beijing are also writing their wills. According to Li Zongyong, the head of a notary office in Beijing, the number of people over the age of 30 with a will was up 30% year-on-year.
Their parents’ situation may have been a motivation too. More young people now appoint their parents as beneficiaries, knowing that leaving their assets such as property to their parents is better than giving it to someone else.
In addition, the high-pressure nature of their work can prompt them to write wills in case they die from stress and leave behind unprotected possessions.
The awakening of private property rights among the Chinese is the main force behind the popularity of making wills.
The China Youth Daily described the 60 square meter registration office as a place where many of the elderly leave the most important secrets of their lives – some left the softest touch to their children, some left behind despair.