Foreigners register wills at local office

Foreigners in Shanghai can make it easier for family members to inherit their property in the city by registering their wills at the China Will Registration Center's local branch.

Foreigners in Shanghai are taking advantage of a local branch of the China Will Registration Center, and the center is looking for recruits to help foreign residents pass down their property.

Over 20 foreigners have created wills at the center’s Shanghai branch, which opened last November. 

In total, the office has helped over 1,000 people draft wills since its inception, and thousands more are on its waiting list.

“Now we can only provide service in Chinese and English. We are looking for workers and volunteers who can speak different languages,” Tian Yan, an officer at the branch, told Shanghai Daily. The center’s Beijing headquarters and Tianjin branch have also received foreign visitors.

Tian explained that no matter what a person’s nationality is, they are eligible to draft a legal will at the center as long as they have lived continuously in China for at least three months, and the property they want to leave behind is located on China’s mainland.

Foreigners who would like their wills recorded at the center are advised to bring their passports, permanent residence permits as well as marriage certificates and property documents when applicable.

One international couple that took advantage of the center’s services recently was 91-year-old Chinese Ge Ning and his Russian wife Babaskina. The couple married in the late 1950s, and have a son whom they want to inherit their property.

After visiting a notary, the couple were advised to consult with the will registration center, which could help them overcome issues related to Babaskina’s status as a foreigner. Last month, a group of lawyer’s at the center helped the couple complete an official will in English.

“I feel peace in my mind, after this thing which occupied it for so long has been finally solved,” said Ge. 

Persons who would like to register wills at the branch center are advised to make an appointment on its website or via its official WeChat account. They can also call the center’s hotline, at 021-5255 5698. 

The registration process, including counseling, takes about a month to complete.

Babaskina Liudmila, now with a beautiful Chinese name Liu Qing (green willow), is writing down her will in the office of China Will Registration Center's local branch.

Ge Ning and Babaskina Liudmila come to China Will Registration Center's local branch for will registration.

Ge Ning is writing down his will in the office of China Will Registration Center's local branch.

A family photo of Ge Ning, Babaskina Liudmila and their son.

Special Reports