China — The Rise of Prenuptial Wills and Protecting Familial Wealth

Alex Lew, CFA
2 min readApr 12, 2024


The topic of prenuptial wills, especially those directing inheritance to parents rather than a spouse, garners diverse opinions. In the case of a woman from Wenzhou, Zhejiang, who chose to create a will before her marriage, designating her assets to her parents, this reflects a well-considered strategy for managing her property.

Firstly, as the sole daughter whose parents have already transferred their property to her, this approach seems reasonable. She aims to safeguard her family’s assets, accumulated through her parents’ hard work, from potential external claims in the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as a marital breakdown. This preemptive measure addresses a common concern among young people today regarding asset protection.

Critics might argue that preparing for asset distribution before marriage is like planning for its end before it even begins. However, this perspective might overlook the practical benefits of such planning. It is not necessarily a reflection of mistrust towards the future spouse but rather a proactive approach to protecting familial interests and reducing future legal complications.

In contemporary society, where individual rights and personal security are increasingly prioritized, the act of a woman choosing to secure her assets legally before marriage highlights a shift towards more autonomous personal financial management. It also reflects broader societal trends where individuals, particularly women, take active steps to ensure their financial independence and security.

This does not undermine the essence of marriage but reinforces the notion that in a union, while love and partnership are paramount, financial clarity and independence are equally vital. By setting clear financial boundaries from the outset, both parties can enter into marriage with transparency, reducing potential conflicts over money.

Therefore, the decision to draft a will pre-marriage, particularly one that favors parents, should be seen not only as a precautionary measure but as a manifestation of thoughtful financial planning and respect for one’s origins and family ties. This strategic decision could, in fact, pave the way for healthier and more straightforward marital relationships, free from the complexities of untangling shared assets if things don’t work out.