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A Guide To Navigating CPF After Losing a Loved One

profileXue Miao

It’s never easy to talk about death.

There’s still a stigma around this topic as we are all afraid to face the reality of losing someone we love.

Source: Gfycat

And if we have to deal with the loss, dealing with matters like finances would probably be the last thing on our minds.

Therefore, having existing knowledge in this area could be helpful in helping us navigate through this difficult period.

With the Central Provident Fund (CPF) functioning as retirement savings for most of us, it is important to know what happens to your loved ones’ CPF money after he or she passes away.

Besides that, we should also know what steps we have to take when it comes to dealing with their CPF matters.

This is especially important given how fake information on topics like CPF usually gets sent around so quickly by our friendly uncles and aunties on WhatsApp.

TL;DR: A Quick Guide To Navigating CPF Matters When Our Family Member or Loved One Passes Away

What You Need To DoWhat CPF Board Will Do
Notify CPF (if loved one is not a Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident)Inform Dependent Protection Scheme (DPS) Insurers
Payment of last medical billInform on how to claim for Home Protection Scheme (HPS)
Reimbursement of Funeral ExpensesWaive the need to refund CPF savings used for property
Claim investments made under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS)Waive the need for CPF savings to be refunded for CPF Education Scheme
Check whether there's any CPF Nomination doneRefund any unused premiums from MediShield Life, Integrated Shield Plan and CareShield Life to the payer's MediSave Account

Do I Have To Report His/Her Death?

If you’re wondering whether CPF would be informed of the passing of your loved ones, it all depends on his or her nationality.

Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident

If your loved one is a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident, you do not have to report the death to CPF.

The relevant agency will be reaching out to follow up on this matter.

Foreigner With a CPF Account

If your loved one is a foreigner with an existing CPF account, you have to report this to a CPF Service Centre with relevant documents, including:

  • Original death certificate
  • Your identity card (IC) or passport
  • Proof of relationship with the deceased

Financial Matters You Need To Handle

Payment of Last Medical Bill

If your loved one spent his or her final days and passed away in the hospital, the medical bills incurred during the stay can be paid using MediSave before they are distributed to the beneficiaries.

In order to do this, do check whether your loved one has signed the Medical Claims Authorisation Form (MCAF).

This form will allow the hospital to utilise the MediSave savings to pay for the last hospital bill.

In an event where the form is not signed, an immediate family member (at least 21 years old) can sign this at the hospital within two weeks from the death.

Investments from CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS)

Investment proceeds under the CPF Investment Scheme (CPFIS) are not covered under the CPF nomination.

These investments will form part of the deceased’s estate.

As such, if your loved one holds investments under this scheme, the administrators of his estate will be able to claim these investments.

This will be through contacting the respective product providers or agent bank to claim these investments and any cash balances.

These balances can also be used to settle your loved one’s debts, in accordance with the Probate and Administration Act.

Funeral Expenses

Funeral expenses can also be reimbursed from your loved one’s CPF account if he/she did not make a valid CPF nomination.

Only a beneficiary will be allowed to claim this reimbursement as well.

The maximum amount of claim allowable is $6,000.

As a rule of thumb, the money will be distributed within 4 weeks from the date of receipt of the full set of documentation from the beneficiaries.

If you’re a non-beneficiary, you may make a claim for this reimbursement from the money from his/her estate.

For this, you have to provide relevant receipts to show proof of funeral expenses that have been paid.

Do note the list of documents that have to be submitted for the reimbursement on funeral expenses as well.

How Will the CPF Monies Be Distributed?

CPF savings are not distributed through a will and do not form part of one’s estate.

As such, the distribution of CPF savings will be dependent on whether the deceased has made a CPF nomination.

Here’s a quick rule of thumb:

FactorDistributionWhat to Expect
Deceased member made a CPF nomination before his passingCPF will be distributed to the nominees in the percentage proposedCPF Board will contact the nominee(s) named about the distribution of the deceased's CPF savings within 15 working days
Deceased member did not make a CPF nomination before his passingCPF savings will be forwarded to the Public Trustee for distribution

Distribution will be according to the intestacy laws of Singapore
There will be an administration fee for distribution of he deceased's savings without a nomination

How Can I Check if There Is a CPF Nomination?

If you’re unsure of whether there is any CPF nomination done beforehand, here are a few methods you can check:

  • Going through his/her personal belongings
  • Asking close family members or friends if there is any knowledge of where it is kept
  • Contact CPF Board directly
  • Check My Legacy vault for any digital records

CPF Withdrawal as One of the Nominees

If you’re one of the nominees, this is how you can withdraw the CPF savings.

The CPF Board will contact the nominee(s) with regard to the distribution within 15 working days.

A letter containing instructions on what to do will be sent as well.

More information on CPF Nomination can be found in our detailed step-by-step guide here!

Claim for Dependants’ Protection Scheme (DPS)

The Dependants’ Protection Scheme (DPS) is a form of term-life insurance that provides insured members and their families a basic coverage of up to $70,000.

If your loved one was insured under DPS, CPF will inform his/her insurer (Great Eastern Life) who will be sending the claim application details to his/her address.

There are a few things to prepare before submitting a DPS claim:

  • Death Claim Form (to be completed by nominee/claimant)
  • FATCA and CRS self-certification form for an individual account (Not required if the death claim is filed only for Dependants’ Protection Scheme (DPS), Special Schemes or Group Insurance policies)
  • Certified True Copy of Death Certificate (for overseas death, the original Death Certificate must be certified by your lawyer or any Notary Public)
  • Letter from Immigration and Checkpoint Authority (ICA) – this letter is issued by ICA for Singaporeans or Permanent Residents (PR) who died overseas. It confirms receipt of the Singapore IC, Passport and overseas Death Certificate.
  • Repatriation Report (if the body was repatriated to Singapore for cremation/burial)
  • Cremation/burial permit (if cremation or burial occurred overseas)
  • NRIC or relevant identification documents (e.g. passports, birth certificates) of the claimant(s)
  • Proof of claimant’s relationship with deceased (please refer to the next page for supporting documents for proof of relationship)
  • Newspaper Clipping and Police Report (if death was due to accidental or violent causes)
  • Last Will of deceased (if deceased had left a Last Will)
  • Latest payslip of deceased (for group policies)
  • Dependant Booster Benefit Claim Form (for Family Protect policy only), to be completed by nominee/claimant

Housing Matters

Claim for Home Protection Scheme (HPS)

If your loved one has an outstanding mortgage loan that was insured under the Home Protection Scheme (HPS), CPF will similarly send the claim application details to his/her address.

Just to recap, the HPS provides coverage for the outstanding mortgage amount until the age of 65, or until your housing loans are fully paid up, whichever is earlier.

In the event of permanent incapacity or death, CPF will pay the sum assured, which will go towards paying your housing loan.

This way, your family will not risk losing the flat.

CPF Savings Used for Property

If your loved one has used CPF savings to purchase a property, there will be no need to refund these monies.

The property is not covered by CPF nomination and will be part of the estate.

How the property is distributed will depend on its existing arrangements.

ArrangementWhat to Expect
Joint TenancyAutomatically passed to the remaining owner(s)
Tenancy-in-Common or property was solely owned Deceased's share will be inherited under their will if they had written one

Otherwise, intestacy laws will apply

CPF Savings Used for CPF Education Scheme

The CPF Education Scheme is a loan scheme that allows payment of children’s, spouses’ or own tuition fees through their Ordinary Account.

If your loved one has used his/her savings on education loans under the CPF Education Scheme, CPF will waive the loan repayment as well.

This means that any CPF savings that have been withdrawn (along with its accrued interest) do not have to be refunded to the CPF account.

Termination of Healthcare Policies

If your loved one was insured under any of these policies:

The coverage of these plans or policies will automatically end.

CPF will also refund any unused premiums to the payer’s MediSave Account.

The unused period would be the number of days remaining in the policy year from the date the individual passed, excluding the day of demise.

The Importance of Planning

Dealing with death and finances is always a tricky matter.

Which is why we should get our planning in place while we still can afford to do so.

This means that even though it might seem like a hassle now, getting our wills written and CPF nominations in place would greatly help us and our loved ones in the future.

So let’s do something that our future selves would thank us for.

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About Xue Miao
A millennial who is learning to adult. She doesn't believe in the rat race and hopes to live on a farm someday.
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