In 2018, Zaobao covered a story of a family whose neighbour agreed to be the appointed caregiver (similar to successor caregiver) of an SNTC’s trust account for the family’s daughter with special needs.
The family is made up of an old couple (father and mother) in their 70s, a son who stays in the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), and a daughter with special needs. As the father was diagnosed with dementia, the mother was worried about the future of her daughter who could not take care of herself. She also did have any relatives or friends to help take care of her family members.
It was fortunate that her neighbour was willing to step up to be the appointed caregiver to help should the mother passes on one day. This same kind-hearted neighbour also agreed to be the will executor , so that the flat owned by both the mother and father could be sold when the old couple is no longer around one day, and the sales proceeds will be used to top up the trust account for the daughter. The trust funds will then be disbursed according to the mother’s wishes and be used to support the long-term care needs of the daughter.
On 7 May 2017, The Straits Times covered an article on “Your wealth and how to ‘trust’ it”. The article explains what a trust is and also illustrates the use of a trust with real-life examples.
Not everyone requires a trust. It depends on the needs and circumstances of each family. It is, however, a useful tool that families can consider to make provisions for loved ones with special needs.
As quoted from the article, “a simple trust may cost around $10,000 to set up and the annual fees will be between 0.10 per cent and 0.50 per cent of the trust asset value. Some trustees may also charge fees on a time-cost basis for additional work.” The overall fees of such trusts can be costly and are typically meant for high-net-worth individuals.
SNTC is the only non-profit trust company in Singapore for the community of special needs. As we are supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the Public Trustee’s Office (under Ministry of Law), our fees are 90-100% subsidised and kept affordable for low- to middle-income families. To learn more or have a recap about our establishment, do check out our main website.
You may also like to continue reading the above-mentioned article about trusts from The Straits Times.
In February 2019, Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (Muis) signed an agreement with SNTC to support the community of Muslims with special needs.
The Muis Special Needs Trust Scheme between Muis and SNTC serves to benefit up to 100 Muslims with special needs. Muis will sponsor up to $10,000 for each eligible Muslim with special needs – the initial deposit of $5,000 for setting up an SNTC trust, and an additional matching contribution of up to $5,000.
The considerations for Muslim families to set up an SNTC Trust have been vastly different from non-Muslim families. Since Since Feb 2019, Muis stated that assets set aside in trust funds for family members with special needs are not subject to the Faraid law.
As at 31 March 2020, we have 26 Muslim clients who benefitted from the Muis sponsorship scheme. If you are a caregiver or know of someone who can benefit from this sponsorship scheme, do give us a call at 6278 9598 or drop us an email at email@example.com.
The Muis Special Needs Trust Scheme was first covered in the Straits Times on 1 Feb 2019. Access the article on SNTC’s website here.
You can also learn more the sponsorship scheme from this brochure on the Muis website.
Mr and Mrs Goh are in their 70s. They have always been worried about their son, Duane who has autism. The Gohs have two other children, but they do not wish to force them to look after Duane as it will not be fair.
Although Duane is in his 40s, Mr Goh said “it’s like having a little child at home.” He refused to listen to his parents when they tried to explain that they are now old and will be gone one day. Whenever Duane feels agitated, Mr Goh will pat him on his head and hug him.
The Gohs have now set up an SNTC trust account for Duane. In future, when the family sells their two-storey terrace house in Changi to move into a HDB flat, most of the sales proceeds will be used to top up the trust account for Duane’s future care needs. Mr and Mrs Goh also intend to nominate their CPF savings to top up Duane’s trust account for his long-term care needs. Such an arrangement has been agreed upon by their two older children.
There are also plans for Duane to transit into a residential facility for persons with autism when Mr and Mrs Goh are no longer around. With an SNTC Trust set up, arrangements can be actualised. Our case managers also continue to support Mr and Mrs Goh in their planning for Duane’s future care needs through review sessions.
The Gohs’ story first appeared in The Straits Times on 28 Dec 2019. Read the full story here.
On 7 May 2017, The Straits Times covered an article about our trust services.
Trusts are usually expensive and set up by high-net-worth individuals. Such private trusts may not be suitable for families who have dependants with special needs. Like what the columnist wrote, for families, “especially those who cannot afford private trust firms and banks – their top concern is how such family members will be cared for after the caregivers die.”
The article explained how SNTC can step in to help such families. Our general manager, Ms Esther Tan, added that our “target group would be low- to middle-income families with modest means, but have no suitable immediate family members or friends to manage the monies they intend to leave for their special needs dependants.”
The article also explained about the Special Needs Savings Scheme (SNSS), which enables parents to set aside CPF savings for the long-term care of children with special needs.
To learn more about our trust services and the SNSS nomination, do visit our main website or check out this original article from The Straits Times.
What special needs conditions does SNTC serve? When should the SNTC Trust be topped up, and what kind of assets can be transferred into the trust?
Based on the public talks that we have conducted in the community for caregivers and professionals, we have compiled 10 of the most popular questions and answered all of them in our #SNTCQnA Facebook series.
If you have burning questions relating to building up the trust funds, how SNTC works with any appointed caregivers and/or deputies, or even what happens to any remaining trust funds after the beneficiary passes away, then this Facebook series is for you!
Head over to our Facebook page and search #SNTCQnA for all your questions about SNTC – answered!
Mdm Liao and her husband’s greatest worry is their youngest daughter with autism. In 2017, she decided to set up an SNTC Trust so that her daughter can be taken care of even when both parents are no longer around one day.
Although Mdm Liao has an older daughter who can take care of her youngest child, she does not want to burden her as the older daughter may choose to stay abroad after graduating overseas, or her future spouse may not be willing to take care of the sister-in-law. These are considerations that Mdm Liao have to think of.
We are always very encouraged by caregivers who were willing to share their stories with us so that more families who may be in need can benefit from our trust services. Mdm Zalina is one of such caregivers who is so brave and big-hearted to share her personal story.
Like many caregivers of persons with special needs, Mdm Zalina is worried about the future care of her 2 sons, Aziz and Raziq, both with autism. Although Mdm Zalina has 2 other older children to take care of Aziz and Raziq, she does not want to burden them financially in the future. She recognises that it is the responsibility of parents to make arrangement and plan for the future care needs of their sons with special needs.
During the initial planning process, Mdm Zalina and her husband had the following concerns:
They wanted to save up for both Aziz and Raziq, but were unsure if the monies saved would be intended for them when they are no longer around.
They needed an independent or trusted party (i.e. a trust company), to disburse the monies for their children’s daily living needs when they are no longer around. However, as a middle-income family, Mdm Zalina and her husband were unable to afford a private trust.
In 2009, Mdm Zalina and her husband chanced upon SNTC online. Aziz’s case was also referred to SNTC by Rainbow Centre with parents’ consent. They realised that SNTC’s non-profit trust infrastructure was suitable and fulfilled the criteria of what they had been searching all along.
Eventually in 2013, Mdm Zalina and her husband decided to set up a trust account for Aziz who was then 11 years old. Subsequently in 2018, they also set up another trust account for Raziq, who is 6 years old younger than Aziz. Throughout the process, SNTC’s Case Manager has provided guidance to Mdm Zalina and her husband in areas such as financial care planning, to address concerns such as having enough savings for rainy days on top of topping up the trust accounts. Mdm Zalina and her husband are also receptive and open to exploring methods such as CPF nominations in topping up both trust accounts, while staying mindful of the fatwas based on their Islamic faith.
Even though both Aziz and Raziq are still relatively young, Mdm Zalina and her husband have made considerable arrangements for them and ensured their financial security. Such forward-thinking amidst heavy caregiving responsibilities is truly admirable.
We hope that Mdm Zalina’s journey will encourage more caregivers to take the first step in planning for their loved ones with special needs.