SINGAPORE - Instead of leaving his Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings to his family, a man left it to a 25-year-old female friend from China, giving her $37,000.
His wife found out only after the man - whom she was married to for 34 years - died, Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.
The widow, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Saw, 61, tried to appeal to a court, pouring $30,000 of her savings into the effort. Not only did she lose the suit, but she now also has to pay $7,000 in court fees.
"It was really not worth it," lamented Mrs Saw.
The couple have a son and two daughters, all of whom are married. But things took a turn for the worse after Mr Saw committed suicide in June last year. Mrs Saw said she had stopped him from doing so on two occasions.
While clearing her late husband's belongings, she was shocked to find out that Mr Saw had, in 2011, arranged to have all his CPF savings given to the female friend.
Mr Saw also had a will, in which the Chinese national would get $150,000 from the sale of his home. A further $450,000 from the sale would be split between an old folks' home, a temple, his brother, friends and go towards paying off his credit card and housing debts.
The remaining sale proceeds were to go to his immediate family, but the home is expected to sell for only $600,000, so his family may not get anything.
Mrs Saw said her husband changed his will in 2012 to redistribute funds initially set aside for his family.
In tears, she told Wanbao: "I knew he liked to go out to drink and have fun, but I always thought he was just flirting around, and would still be focused on the family. But little did I know that he would make such a decision."
She added that she could not comprehend why her husband made such a move.
To safeguard her own interests as his wife and with support from her children, Mrs Saw used her savings to hire a lawyer to appeal to the court.
"After my husband's business failed in 1986, he didn't have a job. Since then, I've carried the burden of being the family's breadwinner and brought up our children. How could he quietly leave his money to a stranger and none for me?" said Mrs Saw.
The widow said that she had never met the Chinese national. The woman, whom her husband met at a bar in 2009, is from China's Liaoning province and works as a service staff member at Marina Bay Sands, she said.
During mediation, Mrs Saw said that the woman reiterated that she and Mr Saw were just friends and did not have an intimate relationship.
Mrs Saw said that in her husband's beneficiary nomination form for his CPF savings, his relationship with the woman from China is listed as "goddaughter".
She raised doubts over this as Mr Saw initially wrote that the woman was his "granddaughter", before changing it to "goddaughter". "One can imagine that when he was making the arrangements, he was not thinking clearly," claimed Mrs Saw.
But the court decided that Mr Saw and the Chinese national had maintained a good relationship - regardless of whether the woman was his "goddaughter" or mistress.
As there was insufficient evidence to determine Mr Saw's state of mind when nominating the Chinese national as his beneficiary, the judge did not rule in Mrs Saw's favour.