What will happen to your CPF monies upon death?

Recently, my colleague passed away unexpectedly, leaving behind two young daughters and wife. His wife is a full-time housewife. In grieving his death, I wondered whether my family would be able to cope if I suffered the same fate. Like my late colleague, both of us are sole breadwinners. So, I can imagine the family’s financial concerns and the fundamental questions on the destiny of CPF monies upon death.

Most often, there are misconceptions on the distribution of CPF monies upon death. There were even false rumours that Medisave savings go to the government after death as they are not included in CPF Nominations. In this article, I will attempt to explain the framework and try to gain a better understanding of the system. Again, I must put a disclaimer that this article is not meant to be a legal nor financial advice. In case of any doubts, please seek advice from licensed professionals.

Upon death, you would want your loved ones to have access to your CPF savings. This is especially so if the family’s financial situation is not so ideal. You don’t want your family to undergo financial hardship after you passed on. Ultimately, how you plan your estate will determine the outcome. For example, previously I wrote that CPF monies cannot be included in your Will as they do not form your estate.

In the following, I will explain the process of the distribution of your CPF monies. Basically, it really depends on the decisions you made before death. Most crucially, the situation is dictated by whether you have made a CPF nomination. Read carefully and think through carefully before making judgement.

CPF monies

With CPF nomination

If CPF nomination had been made, things are quite straight forward because the CPF monies will be distributed in accordance to the nomination by the CPF Board. Generally, the CPF monies will not go through the Public Trustee for administration and will not be distributed in accordance with the Intestate Succession Act. But things become very tricky if you happened to nominate your young children as nominees [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my other articles on CPF:

  1. CPF nomination and making a Will
  2. Devastating HDB Loan and CPF Accrued Interest
  3. CPF’s Home Protection Scheme (HPS)
  4. The Dark Side of CPF Housing Withdrawal Limit

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6 thoughts on “What will happen to your CPF monies upon death?

  • October 2, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Good post!!

    There’s just not enough emphasis by authorities for people to do CPF nomination, and there’s also no publicizing about the additional costs & delays involved without nomination.

    Maybe they just don’t want the problems of CPF nominations not being revoked by divorce, with the increasing proportion of divorces in S’pore now …. 1 in 3 marriages, and increasing… In this case, it’s better for the law to be changed for CPF nominations to be auto-revoked by divorce … just like for event of marriage currently.

    Btw, no need to go to CPF branch for nomination unless need further explanation. Can just print the form from CPF website, get a couple of relatives or friends to sign as witness, & mail back to CPF. Make copies of the signed form for your records before you mail it off.

  • October 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    If the child is a toddler, we can arrange for the money to be transferred to his/her medisave or special account. It is better than the Public Trustee or giving all to the spouse to manage.

  • October 7, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    Hi Sinkie,

    You are right about the part on printing out the form and mailing it back to CPF. That was what we did for my late Father’s CPF nomination.


  • October 7, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    Hi Caelitus,

    I am not sure if you are able to specifically nominate your CPF savings to be transferred to your toddler child’s Medisave or Special account. Have you done so?


  • October 26, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Hi.. my father In law pass on early this year August…
    But until now my mum in law also did not received any letter from cpf or trustee.. when down cpf bored to ensure were told off wait for the letter to come.. she is in confuse state… wat must she do now?

  • October 31, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Hi Chan,

    So sorry to hear that your father-in-law has passed on. I am not sure whether he has made a nomination, and so I cannot advise.
    If he had made a valid nomination, then your family should receive the letter.
    Otherwise, your father-in-law’s CPF monies would be transferred to the Public Trustee Office for distribution. It could take at least three months for Public Trustee Office to receive the monies from CPF and then another few weeks for them to invite your family to make online application to get the monies. The office also charges fees for processing the application. So that is why I always tell Singaporeans to make CPF nomination.


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