Will-writing is becoming more popular in China

IN THE past few decades China’s rapid economic growth has enabled many of its people to amass fortunes, big and small. The country is home to nearly 400 billionaires, second only to America. But with the population now ageing, a growing proportion of China’s citizens are grappling with a related problem: what should be done with this dosh after they die?

China has no tradition of writing wills. Scholars have found only a smattering of examples of ones made during the country’s 2,000 years of dynastic rule. After the Communists seized power in 1949, wills became redundant. The wealthy fled or had their assets confiscated. Under Mao, private property was banned. It was only in the 1980s that the Communist Party gave its approval for people to get rich.

Will-writing is now coming into vogue. Last year notary offices in Guangzhou, a southern city, handled over 24,000 wills, up 20% from 2016. The numbers have been rising at a similar rate in Shanghai. According to the Ministry of Justice…Continue reading

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