Widow takes fight over husband's CPF bequest to High Court

The widow whose husband bequeathed his $37,000 Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings to a woman from China has filed an appeal to the High Court, after failing in an earlier suit.

She is also trying to overturn her husband's decision to give the Chinese national $150,000 from the sale of his Housing Board flat, Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

The widow, Mrs Saw, 61, told Wanbao: "I'm really not willing to allow this sum of money to be given to the woman. If the appeal is successful, I would rather give my husband's CPF savings to charity than to her."

While Mrs Saw will incur more legal fees as a result, she said she is fighting the matter on principle.

Last week, it was reported that the widow discovered that her 63-year-old husband had left his CPF savings to the 25-year-old female friend from China - and none to his family - only after he killed himself in June last year.

He also had a will in which the Chinese national would get $150,000 from the sale of his home. After the remaining proceeds are distributed to other parties - including another woman from China, a temple and Mr Saw's brother - there might not be any money left for his wife and children.

"The home is under his name, but our children have been paying for it. After our children grew up, they paid the monthly cash instalments for the house, as well as the service and conservancy charges," said Mrs Saw. The couple have a son and two daughters, all of whom are married.

Mr Saw met the Chinese national - who works as a service staff member at Marina Bay Sands - at a bar in 2009.

Mrs Saw had spent $30,000 in legal fees to appeal to the court against her husband's decisions, but the court did not rule in her favour. She had to pay an additional $7,000 in court fees.

The judge explained that Mr Saw and the Chinese national had maintained a good relationship, and there was insufficient evidence to determine his state of mind when nominating the woman as the beneficiary of his CPF savings in 2011.

But Mrs Saw said she has since obtained her husband's medical history and related information to show that when he nominated the Chinese national, "he made the decision because he wasn't of sound mind". She is also trying to apply the same argument to overturn his will.

Mrs Saw said that in 2009, she realised her husband had some mental issues. He would often lose sleep - once, he stood at a basin in a daze while the water flowed from the tap.

"He often said strange things, like how he would be driving a car through a tunnel until he arrived at Newton Food Centre. But there's no tunnel in the Newton area," said Mrs Saw.

At the time, she did not think much about it.

Mr Saw did not find a job after his timber business failed in the 1980s. Mrs Saw said he had come from a well-to-do family, "so he was worried about losing face and didn't find work. He would be out drinking and having fun all the time".

To support the family, she had to take up two jobs as a kindergarten and hairdresser's assistant.

Still, the widow believes her husband cared for his family. The night before he killed himself, he knelt before her to apologise. "So, I believe he was instigated by someone to leave his CPF savings to the woman from China," she said.

myp@sph.com.sg


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