Dealing with Deceased’s CPF Savings (Muslim)

What is CPF?

The Central Provident Fund is a compulsory social security savings system set up to meet our healthcare, housing and retirement needs. It is funded by contributions from both our incomes and our employers. Almost all Singapore citizens have CPF accounts with savings and often leave behind these savings upon their passing.


Is the CPF money a part of the deceased’s will?

CPF monies are not a part of the deceased’s estate, and it is also not covered by their will. If CPF members want to specify who gets the money and how much, they can make CPF nominations.


Is the Intestate Succession Act applicable to the estate of Muslims?

No, the Intestate Succession Act is not applicable to the estate of Muslims. The equivalent of the Act for Muslims is faraid. The principles applied to the deceased differ according to the school of faith they followed, the default school being the Shafi’i madhab unless otherwise shown.


What is faraid? Who does it apply to?

Under the Administration of Muslim Law Act (AMLA), the Muslim intestate law faraid is administered by the Syariah Court. All Muslims who reside in Singapore and pass away after 1 July 1968 must have their intestate matters administered as per faraid, regardless of the existence of a will, according to section 111(1) of the AMLA.


What happens if a valid CPF nomination has been made?

According to Muslim inheritance law or faraid, CPF savings are a part of the deceased’s estate and therefore must be distributed to the rightful beneficiaries as per faraid. The common law position is that the CPF nominee is entitled to all of the CPF monies. However, the position in Muslim law is that the CPF nominee holds the monies and acts as the trustee for the faraid beneficiaries. If the CPF nominee is not a beneficiary, then they have no right to the money and must hand it over to the rightful beneficiaries under faraid. However, if the deceased has made a legal will or wasiat to transfer all the CPF money to a nominee who is not a beneficiary, they will only be entitled to a third of the money. This is because, under Syariah law, at least two-thirds of the deceased’s estate has to be handed over to the rightful beneficiaries under faraid.


What happens if no nominations have been made?

If no nominations have been made, the CPF savings will still be considered a part of the deceased’s estate and will be distributed according to faraid to the deceased’s beneficiaries.


Who are the beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate under faraid?

Beneficiaries of the deceased under faraid depends on the gender of the deceased, usually people related by blood and spouse(s) of the deceased. Spouses and closer family tend to receive more, and the men receive twice the share of the women of the same relation.


The amount to be distributed can be determined through a complex faraid calculator provided by the Syariah Court. You can approach our lawyers who are well-versed in Muslim law to plan your Muslim inheritance.


Who is the Public Trustee?

The Public Trustee is a government body who is the trustee your estate upon your passing. He or she is in charge of the distribution of your assets and ensures that the valid beneficiaries receive it.


How do you claim CPF money from the Public Trustee?

You can make an online application to make claims with your SingPass. The Public Trustee will require documents such as:


• The Death Certificate of the deceased
• The Birth certificate of the deceased
• The Marriage certificate of the deceased
• Decree nisi or Interim Judgement of a divorced deceased individual
• Birth certificate and NRIC of the beneficiary
• Inheritance Certificate from Syariah Court


How can you make a CPF nomination?

To specify who you want to receive your CPF savings and how much of it, you can make a CPF nomination. For this, you must visit the CPF officer with the nominees’ details. You should have a copy of the nomination and store it with your will and/or keep it with the nominees for clarity. It is also useful to note the following facts regarding nominations:


• A marriage revokes a previous nomination, but a divorce does not.
• CPF monies are not covered by wills, and so wills do not replace any earlier nominations.
• The CPF share of a nominee under 18 at the time of the payment will be forwarded to the Public Trustee until he or she reaches 18 years of age as provided by Section 25 of the Central Provident Fund Act.
• The CPF share of an undischarged bankrupt will be handed over to the Official Assignee as the property of a bankrupt is assigned to the OA as per Singapore law.


How we can help you

At IRB Law, our experienced lawyers can assist you in applying for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration to claim your fair share of CPF savings or if you wish to create a CPF nomination. Our lawyers specialise in Muslim Law and can advise you on matters relating to faraid. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected] or call at 6589 8913 to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers today.


The information contained in this article is provided for general information only and may not reflect current status about applicable law, cases, settlements or judgements. Nothing contained on this website or article is intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be construed as I.R.B Law LLP agreeing to provide legal services to you. You acknowledge and agree that your use of this website shall not create a lawyer-client relationship with I.R.B Law LLP.