A case of Singapore’s Public Trustee Office (PTO) refusing to return CPF money of a deceased to her next-of-kins made highlights today when three sisters wrote in to a forum saying they were unable to recover their late grandmother’s CPF money.
The PTO requested for documentations like birth certificates and the marriage certificate of their grandparents, dating back as far as 1940s during the war, to prove that the trio are the rightful heirs.
When the sisters were unable to produce these papers, they used other documentation like a hospital bill which they paid for, and a dated-1978 documentation where their grandfather left a house to their grandmother. However the PTO did not accept these documentation and smacked a bureaucratic response on the case requesting the sisters make a statutory declaration with the help of their immobilized granduncle in his 90s:
“The PTO is required to verify that a claimant is recognised as a beneficiary under the law, in order to distribute un-nominated CPF monies. As part of the verification process, the claimant is required to provide supporting documentation, such as birth and marriage certificates.
In this specific case, as the required documents are not available, the claimant was advised to arrange for her grandmother’s brother to make a statutory declaration on the relationship.”
Although the PTO mentioned that the declaration can be done at the PTO’s premises or at the granduncle’s place in the presence of a lawyer, the PTO did not consider the situation of the old man’s handicap and the relative cost of hiring a lawyer to the sums claimed. The inheritance is estimated to be around S$6,000 and hence made hiring a lawyer unfeasible. The sisters have hence decided to leave the money and chose not to claim for it.
According to official statistics in 2014 [Link], the Singapore’s Public Trustee Office is holding on to over 22,400 deceased CPF account holders’ monies which are unclaimed. No statistics were given how much these 22,400 accounts hold and how are the money presently used.