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Every Singaporean has a CPF account. It’s a compulsory retirement fund implemented by the government. But does everyone really understand its importance? How many Singaporeans have actually done their CPF nominations?

And how many had taken great care in choosing the people they put in their CPF nomination?

For newcomers in Singapore, there are a lot of questions about CPF accounts and nominations that need to be answered. Questions like, What is a CPF account? What is it for? Why are CPF savings compulsory? What are Central Provident Fund Nominations? How does one make a CPF nomination? Where do CPF monies go when an account holder dies?

And all these questions will be answered. This article will be a step by step guide to understanding CPF accounts. The purpose of CPF accounts. How to make a CPF nomination, and what happens to CPF monies upon the account owner’s demise. And lastly how to integrate one’s CPF account into estate planning.

Here are 7 Things About CPF Nominations and Accounts

What is a CPF account?

CPF stands for the Central Provident Fund. It is a mandatory retirement fund implemented by the government. Every month, 20% is deducted from the account holder’s salary and is deposited into the CPF account. The CPF account is divided into three accounts:

  • Ordinary Account
  • Medisave Account
  • Special Account

Ordinary Account – the money stored in the Ordinary account can be used to buy an HDB flat. Or it can be used finance one’s education or children and spouse’s education.

Medisave Account – this account is used for paying medical bills, hospitalisation expenses. And buy medical insurance for oneself or the whole family.

Special Account –  this is the account dedicated for old age, and all CPF monies stored here will be used for retirement.

Who handles all CPF accounts?

All CPF accounts are handled by the Central Provident Fund board which is a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower(MOM). The Ministry of Manpower is the one responsible for investing the members’ contributions.

What is a CPF nomination?

A CPF nomination allows for CPF members to leave behind their CPF savings to their family members once they die. This CPF nomination scheme makes it possible to name any individual to inherit the CPF monies left behind in a CPF account. Nominations also allow the account holder to state how much money each beneficiary gets.

Who can be written in CPF nomination?

The account holder can name anyone as the beneficiary, similar to how a person makes a will. But, CPF nomination beneficiaries are usually family members.

Nominations must regularly be reviewed to update information when marriage, childbirth and even death happens in the family. This regular update will make sure that the CPF nomination follows the true intentions of the CPF member.

There are three types/kinds of CPF nomination

  • Cash Nomination – where the nominee receives the CPF savings intended for them in cash form or via a check or even a GIRO.
  • Enhanced Nomination Scheme (ENS) Nomination – the nominee receives the CPF savings due to them through a transfer of funds to their CPF accounts.
  • Special Needs Savings Scheme (SNSS) Nomination – for parents who have special needs children, they can nominate their children using the SNSS. Their children receive the CPF savings intended for them every month.

How can one make a CPF nomination?

There are two ways to make a CPF nomination depending on what type of nomination you are making. The two ways discussed here applies to Cash Nomination only. The two ways are In-person or via Mail.


Book/schedule an appointment online through the CPF Appointment Service found on the  CPF website. While making the appointment, the member can choose the preferred time and date. The CPF Nomination can be completed in front of a Customer Service Executive. The CSEs can also serve as witnesses for the CPF nomination.

Via Mail

Complete/fill the CPF nomination form which can be downloaded from the CPF website. The CPF nomination form must be completed in the presence of two witnesses who are both above the age of 21. For people living overseas, one of the witnesses should be a Singaporean, or he or she can either be the two:

  • A permanent resident of Singapore
  • An official serving a overseas mission for the country

It must be mailed to the Central Provident Fund Board located at Robinson Road. To get the full address with the CPF website.

The nomination form must include photocopies of the following:

  • NRIC or Passport
  • NRIC or Passport of both witnesses
  • Nominee’s NRIC or Passport.

What happens when no CPF nomination?

When no CPF nomination has been made the CPF savings and CPF monies claimable will be passed to the Public Trustee’s office. The CPF savings will then be dealt with the Intestate Succession Act, with the PTO taking the lead to give the CPF monies to the family members left behind.

What if one’s beneficiaries die first?

If the nominee dies first, then the CPF member must make a new nomination. Naming substitute beneficiaries is not allowed. And if there are no living nominees left the CPF board will be passed to the Public Trustee’s Office.

Can pets be named as beneficiaries?

Pets cannot be named as beneficiaries in a CPF nomination. So, for members thinking of naming their pets as beneficiaries do note that such nominations are invalid.

Trusts can be named in Nomination

CPF savings are outside of probate so wills cannot dictate how they will be distributed. Due to its non-probate nature, it is a must to create a CPF nomination. The good thing is Trusts can be named as beneficiaries in a CPF nomination. By nominating a Trust, CPF members can incorporate their CPF savings into their estate plan. To learn more about this contact a Trust company that deals with estate planning.


A CPF nomination makes it easier and faster for CPF savings to be passed on to beneficiaries. And it gives the members a choice to pick who gets their CPF savings and how much they can give to each nominee. Making a CPF nomination is quick, and there are two ways to do it either go to In-person or via mail. Overall, a CPF nomination ensures that the CPF monies that CPF members worked hard for goes to the people they love and care for.

Want to learn more about making nominations for one’s Central Provident Fund? Visit their website CPF website.

And for more information about estate planning grab a copy of the book “The Rockwills Guide to Succession and Trusts in Wealth Management”. Click the link —>