Friday, 12 December 2014

CPF members should be free to pick nominees

I AM saddened to read about families that are left bereft when a member leaves his entire Central Provident Fund savings to an unrelated person ("Widow loses fight over husband's CPF bequest to another woman"; last Thursday).

But before calling for steps to prevent this, such as by getting the written consent of a family member before a CPF member can nominate an unrelated person ("Regulation of CPF nominations not feasible" by Mr Wilfred Ling; Tuesday), we have to remember that CPF savings belong to the account holder.

Why should he need the consent of anyone in order to handle his own money? Why should CPF savings be any different from the assets left in a will, or the money in a bank account?

It is easy to call for preventive measures when the "victims" are vulnerable. But consider another scenario where a woman who is an orphan with no siblings or children nominates her best friend to be the beneficiary of her CPF savings, as her husband abuses her and is a philanderer. Would it not be sad if she is not allowed to nominate this friend because her husband refuses to give written consent?

Let us give pause before we think of preventive measures. The cases reported so far are all heartbreaking as the family members involved are apparently vulnerable, but there might be many other cases where it is a relief for the CPF member to be able to nominate a much more worthy person who happens to be unrelated to her.

Agnes Sng (Ms)
ST Forum, 11 Dec 2014

Regulation of CPF nominations not feasible

I AGREE with Mr Liew Kai Khiun that there is a need for greater regulatory intervention with regard to Central Provident Fund nominations ("Exercise more oversight of CPF nominations"; last Saturday), but there is always the risk of over-regulation.

Many people are already unhappy over limitations on how much CPF savings a person can withdraw at age 55. Regulating the manner in which one can bequeath one's CPF money would only increase the unhappiness.

Besides, a CPF member may have valid reasons for wanting to bequeath his savings to a person who is not related to him. For example, his family members may have already inherited a large portion of his estate through his will and insurance nominations, or as joint owners of properties.

Requiring the CPF Board to scrutinise the status and history of families and dependants would be an invasion of privacy, and the Board may find itself getting embroiled in family disputes.

Rules to restrict the distribution of CPF funds to just family members can also be easily circumvented, as the CPF member can use the money to purchase property or stocks, and then bequeath these to another person.

Instead, I suggest that a family member be required to provide written consent in order for the CPF member to nominate an unrelated person. This can be incorporated into the nomination form, and will save the CPF Board from having to look into members' private matters.

Wilfred Ling
ST Forum, 9 Dec 2014

Exercise more oversight of CPF nominations

I EMPATHISE with the widow whose late husband bequeathed his Central Provident Fund savings to a woman from China ("Widow loses fight over husband's CPF bequest to another woman"; Thursday).

Issues of inheritance can often be painfully contentious, especially when extramarital relations are involved, and turning to the law may not be the most effective solution.

While CPF members are free to nominate whoever they want to bequeath their savings to, the officers handling these cases should have the responsibility of reminding them to exercise discretion.

The CPF is not just the nest egg of a person or family, but also the social security of the entire nation.

There needs to be greater regulatory intervention to ensure that CPF funds are allocated as judiciously as possible to deserving dependants within Singapore.

CPF members who want to leave their savings to non-related nominees, particularly foreigners, should be subject to more vigorous scrutiny by the CPF Board. The financial status and history of the family and dependants should also be assessed.

As Singapore's population ages, the challenges facing our social security will increasingly take centre stage. It is no longer about how we build our nest eggs but about how we use them or bequeath them. This may no longer be a private affair.

Liew Kai Khiun
ST Forum, 6 Dec 2014

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