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Young Chinese list digital assets in their wills

(People's Daily Online)    10:15, November 20, 2019

In May 2019, a young lady went to write a will at the Tianjin registration station of the China Will Registration Center, listing her digital assets such as money in her Alipay and WeChat Pay accounts in her will.

According to the General Rules of the Civil Law of China, which came into force in October 2017, virtual assets are lawful personal properties of natural persons and can be lawfully inherited.

People born in the 1990s or later tend to choose an option to transfer their virtual assets to other people after their death, according to Chen Kai, chief of the management committee of the China Will Registration Center.

By the end of August, 236 people born in or after the 1990s had created a will at the China Will Registration Center, with the youngest being only 18 years old.

Their assets to be inherited were mainly cash deposits and virtual properties such as their Alipay accounts, virtual currencies, gaming accounts and QQ accounts, and they usually named their parents as designated beneficiaries.

Digital heritage is referred to as resources of human knowledge or expression. Whether cultural, educational, scientific and administrative, or embracing technical, legal, medical and other kinds of information, assets are increasingly created digitally, or converted into digital formats from existing analogue resources, according to the UNESCO Charter on the Preservation of the Digital Heritage released in 2003.

However, virtual assets can be hard to identify, access and transfer to other parties, because they belong to different servers and have added privacy issues.

Currently, people who intend to write a will face a situation that their accounts, which only they have the right to use, are not inheritable. In this case, the network service providers can close or remove their accounts.

In another case in which the users have proprietorship of their digital assets, such as their QQ accounts, they will have to provide supporting documents to make their digital assets inheritable.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Wen Ying, Hongyu)

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