I refer to the reports "Man bequeathed CPF savings to 'goddaughter' instead of family" (My Paper, Dec 3) and "Widow takes fight over husband's CPF bequest to High Court" (My Paper, Dec 9), and the legal proceedings initiated by Mrs Saw.
It is sad that a wife has to fight for her husband's Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings.
While her husband's CPF nomination for the Chinese national's benefit will probably be respected under the law, her husband's decision to give the Chinese national $150,000 from the sale of his Housing Board flat could possibly be changed or overturned by a court.
Mr Saw's will may have stated that the Chinese national would get $150,000 from the sale of his home, and for the remaining proceeds to be distributed to other parties including another woman from China, a temple and his brother.
However, under Section 3(1)(a) of the Inheritance (Family Provision) Act (Cap 138), the High Court or Family Court may order that reasonable provision out of Mr Saw's net estate will have to be made for Mrs Saw's maintenance.
Mrs Saw must show that the disposition of Mr Saw's estate as effected by his will, or the combination of that and the law of intestacy, is not such as to make reasonable provision for her maintenance.
Arguably, the legal requirement is fulfilled in this case, since there might not be any money left for Mrs Saw at all.
I hope that the legal counsel acting on her behalf will take this into consideration.
Given that the current CPF laws allow for unfettered nomination of beneficiaries outside one's family, I also hope the authorities will consider if there should be safeguards in place to protect a family's welfare, perhaps by ensuring that a minimum percentage of CPF savings goes to one's family.
Alternatively, new regulations could be passed to require at least one of the two witnesses fora a CPF nomination to be a family member who is at least 21 years old and of sound mind.
This upholds the Ministry of Social and Family Development's belief that family is the basic building block of society, by ensuring that one's family will have some financial protection following one's death.
Jerome Yang Zhelun
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