Nobody wants to think about death; it’s depressing and morbid. But when it sneaks up on you and takes away someone you love, you’re left with emotions and sometimes, you’re not sure how to handle the important things. Here is some helpful information to deal with death in Singapore to guide you through the process.

Death Registration

The first necessary step is to obtain a Certificate of Cause of Death (CCOD) to register the death, which must be done in the first 24 hours. This will be performed by a doctor, wherever the death has occurred. If the cause of death is unknown or not natural, the matter will be forwarded to the police to be investigated. It is absolutely necessary to register the death as soon as possible after you are aware.


  • Central Provident Fund

Once the death is registered with the government, you must inform the Central Provident Fund (CPF) of the death of your loved one. Notification can be done by mail or in person at a CPF officer near you. If your loved one was a foreigner, a copy of the notarised death certificate, a letter from the authorities if the certificate does not contain the identity number, documented evidence of your relationship with the deceased and a form of ID are needed. The CPF website contains a list of contacts that need to be made after your loved one has passed way.

While your loved one was alive, they may have chosen nominees to receive their benefits. Make an effort to plan ahead with your relatives concerning distribution of their assets. Upon death their benefits may be given to persons they did not intend to receive them as marriages automatically revoke earlier nominations, while a divorce and a will do not. If they did not make a CPF nomination, then the government will distribute their assets based on religion under the intestacy or Muslim inheritance laws.

CPF savings are made up of:  savings in the Ordinary, Special, Medisave and Retirement accounts discounted SingTel (ST) shares. If nominations have been made, the above-mentioned resources will be split among the nominees. Some assets are not covered by CPF Nomination and will, therefore, become a part of your estate. Full details of what CPF covers and does not cover are also available here.

  • Banks and Insurance Companies

In addition to CPF, any associated banks must be contacted and notified – especially in cases where payments are made directly from the bank such as mortgage and loan payments. Insurance companies are also among the few that must be contacted early on. Beneficiaries may be eligible to receive benefits from insurance policies, credit and trade unions or any other organisations the deceased was affiliated with. Receipt of benefits of can aid in funeral costs and payment of taxes, which will be mentioned shortly.

  • Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

Taxes must be paid on certain assets that were held by the deceased and notice allows the IRAS to calculate the total taxes payable. Failure to do so is a criminal offence, so this step is incredibly important to remember and must be completed early on in the process.

Once the taxes on the remaining assets have been tallied and paid, monies left over will be distributed among family members according to the law.

Funeral and Burial Services

When all appropriate organisations have been given notice, preparation for the funeral and burial services must begin. A funeral director can be hired to help you along the process of planning; the director is in charge of assisting you in obtaining the CCOD, collecting the body from the morgue or home and any other tasks needed throughout planning.

Call a funeral home or make arrangements online at sites such as Direct Funeral.

Packages at Direct Funeral Services begin from $4888 and increase depending on the type of religious service needed and any other additions you may request. You will need the NRIC of the applicant and next-of-kin and the original death certificate in order to complete the booking. The death certificate contains the Permit to Bury/Cremate and the funeral home or church will not accept the booking without this. Once the funeral details are in place, an obituary can be placed in the local newspaper to inform the public of the death; family and friends of the deceased are generally contacted personally to inform them of the funeral arrangements.

To learn more, read more on death issues.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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