Nomination of Beneficiaries Series, Part 2: Types of nominations

Now that you've understood why naming your beneficiaries makes life easier for them, the next step is to learn about the types of nominations you can make.

This is the second of a two-part series. Read Part 1 of our Nomination of Beneficiary series to understand why naming your beneficiaries makes life easier for them.

When it comes to life insurance, the sum of money that's paid out in the event of the insured's death goes to the living. So it's important for policyholders to decide early who their beneficiaries will be, so you can ensure the benefits go to those who matter the most. Those nearest and dearest to you then won't have to muddle through paperwork as they're grieving your loss.

But do you know that there are actually two different types of nominations?

Under the Insurance Act, the policy owner must be at least 18 years old, and must be the life assured of the policy to make a nomination. You then have a choice of effecting either an Irrevocable (Trust) or Revocable Nomination.

Considerations Irrevocable (Trust) Nomination Revocable Nomination
Who can you nominate? Only your spouse and/or children Any legal entity (e.g. any individual, organization, including spouse and/or children)
Can you make changes to your nomination? No, unless the trustee who is not yourself gives consent or you obtain written consent from all your nominees Yes, no consent is needed from your nominees
Who gets the policy proceeds?
Living benefits Nominees You
Death benefits Nominees Nominees
Can I retain full rights and ownership over the policy as long as I’m alive? No Yes
What happens to my nomination if I make a Will? No change1 Nomination will be revoked2
What happens if my nominee dies before me? Policy proceeds passes to the estate of the deceased nominee Nomination will be revoked if only one nominee is named; in any other case, the surviving nominees will share the proceeds
Will your proceeds be protected from creditors in the event of bankruptcy? Yes No. Only proceeds from CPFIS policies which have not been withdrawn will be protected from creditors.

So which type of nomination should you choose?

When it comes to nominations, there's no "better" type. It's all about considering which one's more suited to your individual circumstances and your needs when making a decision. Depending on which type of nomination you choose to go for, you can download the right form on your insurer's website (for Singlife customers, you can download the forms here) and fill in your details accordingly. It's worth noting that you have to make a separate nomination for each policy.

There are many life events – planned and unplanned – which may trigger a review of a nomination e.g. a marriage or civil partnership, divorce, birth of your child or the death of your nominee. Whether you're making a new nomination or changing your existing nomination, you must notify your insurer to ensure the proceeds are paid out to your beneficiaries.

It's always good to regularly review your nomination with your preferred financial adviser representative to make sure it reflects any changes in your personal circumstances over time and most importantly, to ensure your peace of mind when the unexpected happens.


1  Once an irrevocable (trust) nomination is made, the policy no longer belongs to the policy owner. As such, he cannot give it away under his Will.

2 Only if the will is drawn up after the revocable nomination and it is made known to the insurer.

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