If you think that you do not need to have a will or other estate plan, then you might want to pay attention to an ongoing crisis in China.

Not too long ago, the Communist Party in China had strict rules about the accumulation of wealth and passing it on to heirs. During the Cultural Revolution, things were very simple. A person could not accumulate wealth at all, so there was nothing to pass on.

This led to most Chinese people not bothering to create wills or estate plans.

However, the Communist Party has since loosened its rules and many Chinese people are now extremely wealthy. Unfortunately, most of them have stuck with the habit of not getting estate plans and that is causing problems.

This was reported recently by USA Today in “Chinese don’t have wills — and now it’s a big problem.”

The Chinese courts have seen a flood of inheritance disputes that are clogging up their system and slowing down affected business. Families are fighting over this new wealth in the country and even the Communist Party is growing concerned.

It is estimated that only 1% of the country’s senior citizens have wills. Even those who do have wills of some sort, cannot avoid issues.

Some 60% of wills challenged in the country are found to be invalid. The Communist Party is now actively encouraging people to get proper wills.

While the problem is not as severe in the U.S., too many people here also do not have wills.

That causes the same issues as the Chinese have.

Make 2017 the year to get your estate plan completed or reviewed.

Reference: USA Today (Jan. 2, 2016) “Chinese don’t have wills — and now it’s a big problem.”