Thursday, May 19, 2011

CPF Money

A reader of my blog sent this question to me. His spouse passed away and he submitted proof of death the CPF Board. The Board said that the CPF money would be paid to the nominees named by the deceased spouse, but refused to tell who were the nominees. The husband did not receive the money. He checked with his mother-in-law, i.e. the mother of the deceased spouse, and she said that she did not receive the money. The husband asked me - how can he check on whether the money was paid to anybody at all? Could it be possible for the money to be taken away by someone else?

I advised him to write to the Minister for Manpower (who is in charge of CPF matters) and also to see his Member of Parliament. The Government should be aware about this type of problem which arises from the way that matters are being done in Singapore. Why has this type of matter be handled in secrecy? What about transparency and accountability?

Tan Kin Lian


rex said...

rex comments as follows,
i was just trying to figure out the legality of this issue. Suppose the dead woman hated her husband and didn't nominate him as the beneficiary (cpf nominee). So of course, the husband didnt receive a cent. Is the Administrator of the Will (roughly speaking, the CPF board) bound by law to inform the husband who the actual beneficiary is? Maybe not.

I think by default if you don't make a nomination, cPf will transfer the estate to the husband (just like law of intestacy). The fact that cpf didnt pass the money to this husband, seem to indicate that there is some less than normal relation ship between the couple, so much so that the wife deliberate chose some other nominee beneficiary to her cpf money. The case may be a bit more complicated i think and it may not be a fault of cpf... i feel that the person should consult a lawyer first before seeking sympathy in this blog. Without the facts it may be too presumptions to make conclusions either way..


yujuan said...

Gracious God, even in a will, the beneficiaries are prominently listed.
Let me see.
Drop dead, but have made a nomination to claim my CPF funds, but my old man and my children, nor my mother's side of family members, are not the beneficiaries.
Answers: 1. Donated to charitable
2. Willed to my secret
3. Still with CPF, and
they refuse to
release the money.

Tan Kin Lian said...

Hi Rex,
How does a citizen have to pay money to a lawyer to get information that should be made easily available? Many people are afraid of lawyer fees and they do not know which lawyer to turn to, who charges reasonable fees.
There is something wrong with the system here.

Tan Kin Lian said...

I posted this story with the hope that someone might be able to suggest a way to help the husband to find out where the money went, without having to go through a lot of hassle or spending lawyer fees. Anyway, what can the lawyer do, if the information is supposed to be secret?

JanPMS said...

rex comments as follows,
hi mr tan,
i suggested consult lawyer because the case at hand is not normal at all. In normal cases, the wife and husband are very close. The nominee is automtically the spouse, unless a specific different nomination is requested to CPF board by the wife while she was alive. But reading the above, it appears that the wife deliberately assigned a nominee other than the husband, and worst still, when she was alive, she did not seem to share any information about this with the husband. I make this conclusion because i think that cpf would have automatically transferred the cpf money to the husband in normal cases, because people die everyday, and it is impossible that cpf doesnt implement the simple laws of bequests. They can't possibly get away with this.

So I think there is more than meets the eyes in this Case.


Tan Kin Lian said...

hi rex
you are probably right that there is some disagreement between the spouses.
but my point is that the husband should be told who the beneficiary is, and can confirm with the beneficiary that they have received the money.
i think that the cpf nomination should be revealed to the husband.
in the case of a will, there is a formal reading of the will by the laywer to the family members, including those that are not given any inheritance.
this is transparency, and it should be practiced for cpf nominations.

Vincent Sear said...

I've handed three such cases for my relatives from nomination to claim. CPF will accept any nominee or proportional nominees without requiring proof of relationship.

You can claim anyone to be your brother or sister and they'll accept, with or without same surnames. You don't even have to bring the statutorily required two witnesses for nomination. Any two CPF officers can sign as witnesses.

After the notification of death, CPF will send letter(s) to notify the nominee(s) to for the claim. CPF won't tell others who are the nominee(s). That's confidential.

If no nomination was made, CPF transfers the money to OA and it goes under intestacy law. Note that CPFIS investments not realised before death are not covered by nomination too.

rex said...

rex comments as follows,
hi mr tan,
I read the thread again and it was stated that "CPF refused to tell who the nominees were".
I think the correct action is to simply ask WHY. This information is missing. We need to understand the official reason first, before making any sense out of this case.

You will notice that my underlying question is really this: does the fact that one is a spouse, gives him the legal absolute right to know the details of the will of his/her partner? although i suppose this is common sense that the spouse is entitled to see the partners Will (or nominees form as in cpf case), does he have the legal right to do so, particularly if he/she is not at all a named party in the Will?


Vincent Sear said...

Before death, nobody including spouse has the right to see anyone's will except the executor (may but need not be a lawyer) and the two witnesses. After death, the executor executes the will and it becomes open document, subject to scrutiny and challenge.

As for nomination, I understand it conveyances like a bank joint account at death, i.e. the account balance automatically passes on to the surviving joint name. It cannot be willed away to others. Even if it forms part of a will, the nomination overrides the will.

NTUC Income operates the same nomination system for both their insurance policies and shares.

Weng Mao Fa said...

In this case, how does the norminee claim if the husband refuse to loan the orginal death cert to the norminee?

I had one claim experience. The CPF Board wants my late sister's orginal death cert. before anything else.

Unknown said...

I agree completely with Rex.

Honestly, such personal matters are normally discussed between spouses themselves.

So to cut the whole senario short, perhaps the husband should honestly ask himeself whether there were any issue/s between their relationship ?

Confidential means "Confidential" like in any other P&C contracts / agreements.


elsa said...

I actually have a similar problem. my brother passed away this year and I was the one who helped him to submit a nomination form 3 years ago . the nominee was NKF 100% share. But after so many months everything is kept a secret (i've called up CPF, called up NKF, left a few message for NKF to contact me whether they have rec'd the $$ but nobody bother to call me back) and I do not know whether the money has indeed been given to NKF . SOmetimes my mom & I wonder whether the $$ has been pocket by somebody else (can't this be possible? if the officer handling the $$ knows that since nobody in this earth has the right to know the whereabouts of the $$, can't he or she just made the $$ issued to himself/herself).
I find something very fishy here.

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