COVID-19-related deaths push more young Chinese people to write wills


Beijing: Fearing death due to the coronavirus pandemic, more young Chinese are writing wills, a report by the China Registration Center said. Citing the China Registration Center report, South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that more Chinese people are preparing wills than ever before.

From 2019 to 2020, the number of will writers born after 1990 has grown 60 per cent, faster than in previous years. Since last August, a growing number of overseas Chinese people are consulting the centre in order to arrange their assets at home. The centre saw inquiries triple in a year. Qin Chen, in an article in SCMP, wrote that will preparation remains a taboo subject for many in China due to a societal aversion towards discussions about death.

Xinhua reported on Monday that an 18-year-old student known as Xiaohong (a pseudonym) went to the Centre`s Shanghai branch to prepare a will that deals with 20,000 yuan (USD 3,000) in assets.

The freshman said she is treating life more seriously from now on because: “writing a will is not the end. It marks a new beginning”.

She said she decided to give her savings to a friend who helped and supported her during a difficult period, adding that she will update the will when she has more assets in the future.

The report shows that more than 80 per cent of young people prepare a will to deal with savings, while at least 70 per cent deal with real estate as well. Others deal with virtual assets such as social media accounts, reported SCMP.

The China Will Registration Center is a charity programme founded in 2013. It provides free will writing services to anyone aged above 60, with 11 branches and 60 service posts across China.

Yang Yingyi, director of the China Will Organization in Guangdong, told the state broadcaster CCTV that the coronavirus pandemic pushed many young Chinese to think about death.

“During the pandemic, young people started to think more. They are wondering what would happen to their assets if they die and who would look after their parents and children,” Yang said.

Xiaohu (pseudonym), a resident in the southern city of Guangzhou in her late 20s, told CCTV that she felt “much safer” after writing a will. She said she valued people and relationships more than assets and wanted to give back in the event of her death.

Chinese law stipulates that anyone aged above 18 can write a will, while people from age 16 can if they have an independent income.

In China, the average age of a will writer is 67, more than double compared to European countries, wrote Qin Chen.





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