The world’s most populous nation, China has the second-largest economy and one of the highest savings rates and mushrooming wealth. Yet virtually no one has a will, and that’s a big problem.
The first generation, thirty years after China embarked on a course that allowed individuals to accumulate wealth, is statring to die. This dieoff is creating a spike in inheritance disputes that are clogging up the courts and turning families against each other.
The problem has gotten so bad that even the ruling Communist Party is concerned.
“When people die without a will their children scramble for their property, damaging family ties and having a negative effect on society,”
According to the best estimates, only 1% of China’s 220 million seniors have estate plans, The reason is, in China talking about death and writing a will is the same as putting a curse on yourself.
Even the rich and educated often don’t write them.
Hu Xingdou, an economist at the Beijing Institute of Technology was quoted as saying. “China is entering a crucial period. If we don’t find a way to transfer wealth responsibly it will affect social stability.”
To solve this burgeoning problem, the government has looked to local town and villages to create free legal centers for those over 60. One lawyer, Chen Kai, has stepped up and created a charity called the China Will Registration Center which has processed over 40,000 wills in last year.
An article in the People’s Daily said 70% of inheritance cases in Beijing courts stem from the lack of a will. In the cases where a will is challenged, 60% are found to be invalid.
While the situation in the U.S. isn’t quite as bad, it is pretty serious. Experts say almost 60% of people don’t have wills. A we have written here before, depending on the size of your estate, you need at bare minimum, a will. If you need help planning your estate please call us, The Law Offices of Jeffrey Weinstein 347-305-8752 for a free consultation regarding your estate needs.