Members of the public are advised to make nominations for their central provident fund (CPF) monies as early as possible, after CPF monies left unclaimed with the Insolvency and Public Trustee's Office over the last six years reached a total of S$211 million.
The Straits Times reported that the bulk of these unclaimed monies belonged to dead people who did not nominate anyone to receive their CPF funds.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the monies are said to be unclaimed if owners are uncontactable after repeated attempts by the agencies to do so.
All valid claims will be repaid, regardless of how long the monies have been held.
According to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Law, about S$240 million in unclaimed monies was left with the government over the last six years.
Public advised to make nominations as early as possible
A total of S$211 million was left by people who died without nominating a benefactor, while the remaining S$29 million involved tax refunds, levy bonds and immigration deposits.
Nominees will normally receive the dead member's CPF savings in cash when he or she dies.
However, in the event that a CPF nomination was not made, the dead member's CPF savings will automatically be transferred to the Public Trustee's Office (PTO), where it will be distributed to his or her family under the Intestate Succession Act, or the Inheritance Certificate (for Muslims).
The public is advised to make nominations as early as possible, as without a nomination, the beneficiaries will have to pay a fee to the PTO in order for the monies to be administered to them.
The PTO charges 2.4 per cent for the first S$1,000, 1.5 per cent for the next S$9,000, and 0.75 per cent for the next S$240,000, for administration of unnominated CPF monies.
Amount of unclaimed CPF monies likely to increase
According to several lawyers that spoke to ST, the amount in unclaimed CPF monies is likely to rise further, due to aging population and shrinking family sizes.
With a growing trend of Singaporeans remaining unmarried, some may not see the need to make a nomination, or may simply be too busy to do so.
Another reason for the increase in unclaimed CPF monies would be small family units suffering successive deaths within a short period of time.
In such cases, before the surviving family member can claim his or her share of the dead person's CPF monies, the individual passes away as well.
According to the Ministry of Law, the PTO received the largest sum in unnominated CPF monies for distribution last year, amounting to S$533,000.
The biggest amount in unnominated CPF monies that the PTO paid out in a case last year was S$711,000.
All reasonable efforts to return monies are made
According to the Ministry of Law, all reasonable efforts to return monies to the rightful owners are made, with officials trying to obtain the latest addresses of the beneficiaries.
Officials will also try to reach next of kin via available contacts, and reminder letters will be sent out.
If these attempts are unsuccessful, notices will be posted on the unclaimed monies website.
The public can then approach the relevant agencies with documentary proof that they are the rightful owner of the monies published on the website.
How to make a CPF nomination
CPF members can make nominations by visiting any CPF Service Centres, or by mailing in a CPF nomination form.
However, members are recommended to undergo the process in person, as the nomination form must be completed in the presence of two witnesses.
CPF members can decide on their nominees, and the percentage of CPF savings that each nominee should receive.
They can also choose whether their nominees receive the CPF savings in cash, or in their CPF accounts.
CPF also offers a scheme for parents with children with special needs, who can nominate their children to receive CPF savings on a monthly basis.
All CPF members aged 16 and above can make CPF nominations, and members are encouraged to review their nominations regularly.
For example, members should review their nominations after key milestones, such as getting married or having a child.
Top image from CPF.