Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and are for educational purposes only. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any law agency or Public Trustee Office. Examples given within this article are only examples. Readers are advised to seek professional advice from accredited law firms for said services.
What if my family and I can’t afford the funeral in Singapore? This is a question that many people may not have considered, but it is a very real possibility for those who do not have adequate funds saved up. Funerals in Singapore can be quite expensive, and if you are not prepared for them, you could find yourself in a difficult situation. Before we delve deeper into the topic. it is first important to note that funeral expenses are NOT the only bill families are legally obligated to pay.
What bills are the family legally obligated to pay?
Generally, family members of the deceased are not held legally responsible for any outstanding debts or bills left behind by the deceased in Singapore. However, there may be exceptions to this rule.
- Outstanding funeral expenses
- Loans (e.g. education, housing, car, etc.)
- Medical bills
- Credit card bills
Joint accounts with family members may have been held by the deceased prior to their death. This could include joint loan accounts or mortgages that are co-signed. If there is only one person remaining on a joint bank account after someone dies, they may have to take on the deceased’s responsibilities and pay off any outstanding debts.
How can funeral expenses be reimbursed? 1. From the deceased’s estate monies
According to Public Trustee Office (PTO), Beneficiaries (of the dead’s will or trust) and non-beneficiaries of the deceased are both able to claim funeral expenditure reimbursement from the deceased’s estate monies. The amount of money that may be claimed from the deceased’s estate is limited to $6,000 dollars.
However, there are certain situations in which claims reimbursement will not be considered such as the estate having outstanding debts, liabilities, conflicting claims, and disputes among beneficiaries. Therefore it is almost always better to seek professional advice from lawyers.2. From the deceased’s un-nominated CPF monies
The Singapore government allows CPF members to use their retirement funds to pay for funeral expenses.
Beneficiaries who are in charge of the dead member’s last rites might utilize the inheritance to cover funeral costs. If no nomination is made, the Public Trustee’s Office (PTO) will distribute the funds in accordance with intestacy statutes.
If the funds are required for funeral expenses, a beneficiary can apply to the PTO for a funeral expenditure reimbursement, up to S$6,000, from the dead member’s non-nominated CPF funds.
Only beneficiaries are eligible to claim funeral expenses from the deceased’s un-nominated CPF money (if any). Non-beneficiaries are not eligible. If the deceased has more than one beneficiary, all of them must consent to anyone claiming reimbursement.3. From the deceased’s life insurance
A life insurance policy is a policy that pays out an amount of money to the named beneficiaries if something happens to the insurance holder. One option is to make a claim on the deceased person’s life insurance policy. If the policy has a death benefit, the nominated beneficiaries can collect that money to use for funeral expenses and other costs related to the death.4. From the deceased’s bank account monies
You can use the deceased’s bank account funds to cover funeral expenses. In Singapore, the bank will normally freeze the deceased’s bank account after receiving notification and proof of death. A legal representative of the deceased’s estate or a surviving joint account holder must approach banks and request that all accounts be closed (s). Only then will you be able to access the deceased’s bank account funds and use them to pay for the burial only when the settlement procedure is finished.5. Coverage from Funeral Service Packages (FSP)
Funerals are often expensive, and the cost of them continues to rise along with GST and inflation. This has led to a growing market for funeral service packages. A funeral plan is like a insurance plan where you pay into it each month, while being wholly covered during the entire process and should things happen, your loved ones can use the money or in this case, to activate the plan to have a funeral that matches your wish. It’s a way to make sure your loved ones don’t have to worry about the cost of your funeral.
These packages can include services like cremation or burial, as well as merchandise like caskets or urns. They vary in price but can be a more cost-effective option than paying for each service or item separately when death occurs.
The good news is that there are funeral service packages available to cover funeral expenses and to hedge against rising inflations. Funeral service packages can be customized to meet the needs of each family, and they can often be financed through funeral home financing options.
Nirvana Memorial Garden offers funeral service packages with a 0% interest-free installment plan for bereavement services in Singapore. Nirvana has also extended its existing lease in Singapore from 2029 to 2098, further affirming the company’s commitment to Singapore.
The above are the few ways that your family can cover the funeral expenses if they are unable to afford them. The deceased’s estate monies, deceased’s un-nominated CPF monies, deceased’s life insurance, and deceased’s bank account monies can all be used to help pay for the costs. However to skip all these hassles, delicate money issues, and potentially insufficient coverage. We may just consider having a funeral plan purchased as a safety net to the above issue and leave our life insurance coverage to better help our family move on.
If you have any questions or need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our service advisors or authorized agencies.
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