By Mr Lee Chiwi
Excerpt from PreceptsGroup Succession and Trusts in Wealth Management (4th edition) Book
If the CPF account holder dies without making his CPF nomination, his CPF savings will be transferred to the Public Trustee’s Office for distribution to his family members under the Intestate Succession Act or the Inheritance Certificate (for Muslims) regardless of whether he has made a will to govern the distribution of his estate. This can cause unnecessary anguish on family members as illustrated below.
CPF Sum Not Covered by Will
In 2015, three siblings were reported to have decided to give up their claims to the CPF monies left behind by their grandmother, Madam Lau Pei Ling, who had died aged 93. The siblings lacked the documents to prove that they were related to Madam Lau even though the latter had left everything to them in her will. Unfortunately, Madam Lau made no CPF Nomination with the consequence that her CPF savings (estimated around $7,000) will be transferred to the Public Trustee’s Office (PTO) for distribution to his family members under the Intestate Succession Act. The siblings were not the biological grandchildren of Madam Lau but were orphaned as teenagers and grew up close to Madam Lau. After she had a bad fall five or six years ago, they paid her hospital bill as well for a helper to take care of her. And, until her death, the siblings would visit her almost every weekend. To prove their relationship, the sisters tried to submit to the PTO a 1978 grant of probate in which their grandfather left his Toa Payoh flat to Madam Lau after his death, but this was not accepted as valid. They then considered asking their grandmother’s brother, who is in his 90s, to help them claim the CPF money. However, the PTO required his birth certificate, which was also lost in the war. While it was possible to prove their relationships with Madam Lau by making a statutory declaration, the sisters decided that it was not worth their effort.
Knowing More About CPF Nominations
CPF savings cannot be willed away. They also do not form any part of the estate of the deceased CPF account holder. Under section 25 of the Central Provident Fund Act, a CPF nomination provides CPF members with the option to specify who will receive their CPF savings, and how much each nominee should receive, upon their demise. The succession of a deceased CPF account holder’s CPF savings are therefore distributed according to the persons named in his nomination form, which also states the percentage of the CPF savings each nominee should receive. The nominee could be an individual such as a family member or a corporation. Such a nominee could be named as a trustee.