Guide to CPF Nominations & How to Make One In Singapore

Last updated on October 12, 2021

Hand putting paper with writing into box

We often think that making a CPF nomination is unnecessary and a hassle. However, making a CPF nomination in Singapore is a surprisingly simple process that will ensure your CPF monies are distributed according to your wishes after your passing.

This article covers the following:

What is a CPF Nomination?

A CPF nomination is an option to specify the people who should receive your CPF monies and in what amount upon your demise.

Your CPF savings cannot be provided for in your will because the CPF monies do not form part of your estate, which are everything that you own (assets) and everything that you owe (debts) as well.

The CPF nomination will cover:

  1. The CPF monies in your Ordinary, Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts;
  2. Any unused CPF Life premiums; and
  3. Any discounted SingTel shares you have.

However, the following will not be covered under the CPF nomination as they will form part of your estate:

  1. Any properties bought using your CPF monies;
  2. Any payouts from the Dependants’ Protection Scheme (DPS) which will be administered by the insurers;
  3. CPF Investment Scheme-Ordinary Account (CPFIS-OA) cash and investments; and
  4. CPF Investment Scheme-Special Account (CPFIS-SA) investments.

Why Should I Make a CPF Nomination?

Distribute your CPF monies according to your wishes

The most important reason to make a CPF nomination is to distribute your CPF monies according to your wishes. This is the only way you can provide instructions on who should inherit your CPF monies after you pass away. Other methods, such as stating your wishes in WhatsApp messages, will not work.

What happens if you don’t make a CPF nomination?

Without any CPF nomination being made, your CPF monies (with the exception of the discounted Singtel shares) will be distributed by the Public Trustee’s Office (PTO) to your family members under the Intestate Succession Act or an Inheritance Certificate (for Muslims).

Additionally, the PTO charges a fee for the administration and distribution of your un-nominated savings. The fees start from a minimum fee of $15, are GST-inclusive and will be paid out from the CPF monies.

They may be calculated as follows:

Amount of CPF Monies Charge
For the first $1,000 2.400%
For the next $9,000 1.500%
For the next $240,000 0.750%
For the next $250,000 0.450%
For amounts in excess of $500,000 0.300%

The PTO will contact your family members to claim the CPF monies. If your family members cannot be contacted to claim the monies despite all reasonable efforts, the PTO will post a notice of the unclaimed monies on the government’s Unclaimed Monies website.

Who Can Make a CPF Nomination?

All CPF members who have attained 16 years of age and are mentally sound will be eligible to make a CPF nomination.

Even if you are a bankrupt, you may still make a CPF nomination if you wish for your savings to be distributed among your loved ones. Your CPF monies are protected from claims by creditors or the Official Assignee.

Who Can be a Nominee?

A CPF nominee is any person or organisation whom you appoint to receive a share of your CPF monies.

Nomination of persons as my nominee(s)

You may nominate any person or organisation as your nominee, regardless of their nationality or whether have a CPF account.

However, if your nominee is below 18 years of age at the time of claim, his share will be held by the PTO for administration until he reaches 18 years of age (the fee for holding a minor’s CPF monies can be referred to in the table above).

This means that the CPF monies will be held on trust by the PTO and will earn interest during the time period before the minor reaches 18 years of age.

A fee will be charged for the amount of interest as well and can be calculated as follows:

Amount of Interest Earned Charge
For the first $1,000 5.50%
For the next $1,000 4.50%
For the next $1,000 3.50%
For amounts in excess of $3,000 2.25%

How many nominees am I allowed to appoint?

There is no cap on the number of nominees you can appoint. However, if you are making your CPF nomination online (more information on this below), you may nominate only up to 8 nominees at a time.

To nominate more than 8 nominees, you will have to visit a CPF Service Centre to make your CPF nomination in person.

What happens if my nominee passes away before me?

When a nominee predeceases you and no new nomination is made, the CPF monies due to the nominee who had died will be distributed to the rest of the surviving nominees in the same proportion as their specified shares.

If no CPF nomination has been made, or if all your nominees have predeceased you, then your CPF monies will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act (or according to the Inheritance Certificate, for Muslims).

Nomination of organisations as my nominee(s)

Some people may wish to nominate an organisation such as a family business or even a charity or society if they wish for those organisations to receive their CPF monies.

The organisation you wish to nominate has to be a separate legal entity that is capable in law of holding the CPF monies in its own name and not in the name of its members.

For example, such organisations would include societies registered under the Societies Act, companies registered under the Companies Act and limited liability partnerships recognised under the Limited Liability Partnerships Act.

If you are unsure as to whether the organisation is such a separate legal entity, you may check the Registry of Societies for registered societies or the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)’s BizFile+ website for companies or LLPs.

Will Anyone Know Who My CPF Nominee(s) are?

The CPF nomination details are kept confidential. Hence, your family members will not be informed of the identity of your nominee(s). It is also not possible for any person to check with the CPF Board if they are someone’s CPF nominee.

However, you may authorise the CPF Board to disclose the identities of your nominees to specific individuals after your demise.

What are the Types of CPF Nominations?

Based on the needs of your nominees, the CPF nomination scheme allows you to choose between 3 types of CPF nominations.

  1. The cash nomination option will mean that your nominee(s) will receive your CPF monies due to them in cash via cheque or GIRO.
  2. The Enhanced Nomination Scheme (ENS) nomination option will mean that your nominee(s) will receive the CPF monies in their CPF accounts instead.
  3. The Special Needs Savings Scheme (SNSS) nomination option allows you to nominate any of your children with special needs to receive your CPF monies on a monthly basis.

If you did not select a specific type of CPF nomination, the default selection will be the cash nomination option. Hence, your nominees will receive your CPF monies in cash.

What is the Procedure to Make a CPF Nomination in Singapore?

First, you will need to decide on the number of nominees and the exact percentage or fraction of your CPF monies that should be allocated to them. For instance, you may nominate a different percentage or fraction of the CPF monies to your spouse and each of your three children.

You will then need to find 2 witnesses to witness your CPF nomination. The witnesses must be at least 21 years old and of sound mind, and need not be related to you.

However, your nominees cannot be your witnesses. Neither can you be your own witness. If you are making your nomination in person at a CPF Service Centre, the Customer Service Executives there will be able to act as your witnesses.

Finally, you will have to submit a legal document known as the “CPF Nomination Form”. The form can be submitted online or in person. Here is more information on both methods of submission:

1. Submitting your CPF Nomination Form online

To submit your CPF nomination form online, you will first need to prepare:

  • Your SingPass details
  • Your nominees’ NRIC details
  • Your witnesses’ NRIC details (your witnesses will both need to have SingPass)

Then, log into CPF’s my cpf Online Services using your SingPass. Click on “My Requests” in the left menu, then “CPF Nomination” in the drop-down menu on the right, followed by “Make a CPF Nomination”. There are no fees for this transaction.

After submitting your nomination, your witnesses will receive an SMS and/or email notification requesting them to witness your nomination. They will then need to log into my cpf Online Services with their SingPass within 7 days to confirm your intent to nominate. Your witnesses will not be able to view the details of your nomination.

When both witnesses have confirmed your intent to nominate, CPF Board will process your CPF nomination. CPF Board will update you on the status of your nomination by SMS and/or email.

2. Submitting your CPF Nomination Form in person

To submit your CPF nomination form in person, make an appointment to visit a CPF Service Centre at least one working day in advance.

You will complete the nomination form at the service centre. The Customer Service Executives there may act as your witnesses and address any concerns you may have.

You are required to bring a copy of your NRIC/Passport. Apart from that, you are encouraged to bring photocopies of your nominees’ NRICs/Passports (this is not required if the witnesses are the Customer Service Executives).

There are no fees for making a CPF nomination.

Your application might take up to 4 working days to be processed and you will be notified by the CPF Board on the status of your nomination application.

How Often Should I Review My CPF Nomination?

You are encouraged to review and update your CPF nomination as often as it is necessary to be kept relevant to your current circumstances.

Where there are changes in circumstances such as a recent marriage, birth of a child or a death of a nominee, your CPF nomination may no longer be relevant.

If you get married, your CPF nominations will be automatically revoked. You will have to make new CPF nominations.

On the other hand, your existing CPF nomination will not be revoked in the event that:

  • You divorce your spouse;*
  • You welcome a new child to your family; or
  • One (or more) of your nominee(s) pass away

*If you remarry after divorcing your spouse, your existing CPF nominations will be revoked. This follows from how CPF nominations are automatically revoked upon marriage. In one case, an ex-wife was ordered to return CPF monies given to her after her former husband’s death as his remarriage had revoked his nomination of her as his CPF nominee.

However, you may wish to update your CPF nominations upon the occurrence of such events. This may include making a new nomination for your newborn child or readjusting the share allocation for your remaining nominees upon the death of one nominee.

If no new nomination is made after a nominee passes away, the CPF monies due to the nominee that had died would be distributed to the rest of the surviving nominees in the same proportion as their specified shares (as mentioned above).

What If I Lose Mental Capacity After Making My CPF Nomination?

Even if you subsequently lose mental capacity after having made your CPF nomination, your nomination will still remain valid. Since you would no longer have the mental capacity to revoke your existing nomination or make a new one, this CPF nomination will remain unless:

  • The sole nominee or all nominees pre-decease the member; or
  • The court makes an order to revoke the existing CPF nomination (e.g. if the court finds that the nominations were made when you did not have mental capacity).

In those cases, your CPF savings will be paid to the PTO for distribution according to the Intestate Succession Act.

How Do I Change or Cancel My CPF Nomination?

If there has been a change of circumstances and you would like to cancel or amend your CPF nomination, you may simply make a new nomination. The new nomination will supersede the one made previously.

How Will My CPF Monies be Distributed?

Following your demise, the CPF Board will write to your nominees. Following that, your nominees will be able to claim their share of the CPF monies from the CPF Board at any time.

The CPF monies will be distributed to your nominees in cash or deposited into their CPF accounts depending on the type of CPF nomination you have made as mentioned above. If you had not selected a certain type of CPF nomination, the default mode is cash distribution.

Making a CPF nomination is one important tool in estate planning in Singapore that would ensure that your CPF monies will be distributed according to your wishes in the event of your demise.

You can also consider making a will to provide for the rest of your estate and a Lasting Power of Attorney to provide for the situation where you may lack mental capacity. To receive legal advice on estate planning that’s tailored to your situation, please consult our experienced will-writing lawyers.

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