In my recent article How will your CPF savings be distributed if you are no longer around, I explained that if you pass away without proper Nomination, your CPF savings (Ordinary, Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts) will be transferred to the Public Trustee for distribution to your family under the intestacy laws. Under Intestacy Law, if you have no spouse, no children, no parent, no brother or sister, no grandparent, no uncle or aunt, the money will go to the government.

Under the Civil Law Act amendments approved by Parliament yesterday, the Government will be able to distribute CPF savings of people who die without legal heirs and nominees to their “moral claimants”. Moral claimants are those to whom the dead person may have reasonably expected to leave his assets, such as those who have cared or provided for the person.

Currently, the Law Minister has the discretion to transfer only assets of the deceased’s estate, which refers to all of the property owned by the deceased. The amendments mean that non-estate properties – such as Central Provident Fund savings where no nomination has been made, Edusave and Post- Secondary Education Fund monies, and monies placed in a Child Development Account – may be distributed.

The practice will be to let six months pass after the death before processing any claims to allow time for any entitled next of kin to step forward. While claimants will not need to get court orders, they will need to submit supporting documents such as receipts of hospital or funeral expenses, as well as a statutory declaration or affidavit that states the basis of their claim.

I applaud for the changes as rightfully said by the NMP:

The changes were timely because, with more Singaporeans eschewing marriage and children, the future was likely to see “many Singaporeans grow old without next of kin or clear heirs to their properties”.

Nevertheless, why not just spend some time to make CPF nomination to avoid any unintended consequences?

The changes do not affect the disposal of property according to Muslim law, which continues to be dealt with under the Administration of Muslim Law Act.

About the Author

Ivan Guan is the author of the popular book "FIRE Your Retirement". He is an independent financial adviser with more than a decade of knowledge and experience in providing financial advisory services to both individuals and businesses. He specializes in investment planning and portfolio management for early retirement. His blog provides practical financial tips, strategies and resources to help people achieve financial freedom. Follow his Telegram Channel to join the FIRE community.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. This does not reflect the official position of any agency, organization, employer or company. Refer to full disclaimers here.

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