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Elderly woman's grief steels center director for daily challenges

By Li Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-10 07:14

When the project started in 2013, we had very limited personnel and people wanting to make wills were standing in lines hundreds of meters long outside the branch's office. Some who did not know the center well even called the local government to lodge a complaint.

Though the elderly are increasingly aware of the importance of wills, many of them still regard conversations about death as a taboo.

In the past five years, I have seen many cases where will-makers got angry after the branch's employees asked questions about posthumous arrangements. To avoid such conflicts, we need to think very carefully about our wording, which makes the job difficult.

When the center was set up, many would-be will-makers were hesitant about depositing their wills here. Because of that, one 92-year-old woman surnamed Chen was left in great financial trouble.

Chen had been in a good relationship with her husband, but after his death, their daughter produced a will from her father that allocated all of his wealth to the daughter and left Chen nothing.

The elderly woman believed the will was fabricated but could not find proof. When she was going through the things left by her husband, she found a reservation ticket from the center. Then she immediately came here and asked for help.

I had the impression that such a man once came to the center to learn about the service, but after learning he had to undergo a mental examination to deposit a will he hesitated and left.

I wasn't sure if he came back again. After checking the registration system, we didn't find a record of his will.

Upon hearing this, Chen burst into tears. I can hardly imagine an elderly woman in her 90s crying after surviving all the hardships of her entire life. That must be huge grief. I thought to myself why didn't I try to persuade her husband to deposit his will here at the time. If I'd tried, such things would have been avoided.

Yin Yanhe spoke with Li Lei.

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