Real Life Stories
STORY 1: A FATHER’S HEART
Jolene has intellectual disabilities and her father, Mr Tan had always been on the lookout for an affordable solution to safeguard his daughter’s financial security and welfare. As a Financial Advisor with an insurance company, Mr Tan knows of private trust. However, their fees are too expensive for him and his family.
When Mr Tan came to know of SNTC, he was delighted because SNTC is a not-for-profit organization with an Institute of Public Character (IPC) status, compliant to the Code of Governance for Charities. He is most happy with the SNTC Care Plan and Letter of Intent that are appended to the SNTC Trust. These enable him to write his instructions on the long term care for Jolene which includes her accommodations, education, medical needs and even expenses on her hobbies and leisure activities.
Mr Tan appreciates the meetings with SNTC Case Manager to discuss Jolene’s needs in order to draw up and keep up-to-date a comprehensive care plan for the welfare of her future. This gives Mr Tan a sense of assurance as a Trust will prevent exploitation of his daughter and any possible loss of funds that he sets aside for Jolene. Also for the fact that SNTC continues these discussions with guardians after the demise of caregivers and the assurance of a Case Manager making home visits to check on the welfare of the dependents with special needs gives him peace of mind to know Jolene’s future is in good hands.
“I am glad that SNTC has been set up and supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to provide affordable trust service for persons with special needs. By volunteering with parent support groups, I often share my experience with caregivers. I believe by working and supporting each other, it is possible to take positive action to overcome challenges.”
STORY 2: A SAFEGUARD AGAINST PREDATORS
John is 32 years old and he has intellectual disability. He is rather trusting and can easily be won over by anyone who treats him well. He is not able to hold a job and needs close guidance. When John’s mom, Mary found that she was terminally ill with stage 4 cancer, she asked Melissa, her church friend to look after John for her after she was no longer around. Knowing that they were without close kin or relatives, plus John’s father was estranged from the family; Melissa felt she couldn’t refuse a dying person’s request. Mary passed away soon after in Year 2009. Melissa became the executor of her will. Melissa does what she can for John as Mary had wished.
Melissa immediately contacted the lawyer to settle Mary’s estate. Unfortunately as Mary was in arrears in payment to HDB, John could remain in their flat only till the end of the year. Melissa searched and found alternative accommodations for John in TOUCH Ubi hostel which provided accommodations for persons with special needs. However, John did not like staying in a sheltered hostel. On one occasion, John met Uncle Peter, the husband of his mother’s ex-classmate. He confided in Uncle Peter who readily invited John to stay with him. Before Mary’s demised, she had warned John specifically against Uncle Peter, yet John chose to stay with him.
Melissa had many suspicions about Peter, but she could do little because John is very gullible. By pulling the wool over John’s eyes, Peter persuaded him to part with $118,000 (monies in fixed deposit held by John and his late mother) and also his mother’s CPF monies. Melissa was shocked when John told her that he had only $4 in his bank account. She immediately contacted the police. To her frustration, when John and Peter were called in for questioning, John told the police that he willingly lent Peter the monies and so the case was dropped. After the police incident, Melissa persisted and insisted that Peter return the monies to John in instalments. Sadly, the monies have not been fully recovered. Peter has defaulted many times and it has proven difficult to recover it.
Unfortunately, Mary was not aware of the SNTC Trust when she was alive. If Mary had been able to set up a trust, John could have been prevented from losing his monies.
“I urge all caregivers with people of special needs and low IQ to plan ahead for their future needs. Because what happen to John could possibly happen to their loved ones as well. People like John are vulnerable and easily manipulated and there are sharks out there. I never believed this until I met one, who heartlessly preyed on a trusting and vulnerable individual like John. I urged every caregiver to take action and plan ahead.”
STORY 3: ACTS OF LOVE FOR AN AGING FATHER
After her siblings sold their family flat, Jessica’s father received 50% of the sales proceeds. The siblings agreed the money should be saved for their father’s future living expenses. However, one sister felt that their father should not be given so much of the sales proceeds. So she visited their father in the nursing home, two to three times a week to ask him for money. Jessica was upset her sister was harassing their father for the money which was intended to meet his living expenses. Also, in knowing her father had been very stressed by her children asking him for the money every now and then.
To protect her father’s interest, Jessica asked a relative for advice and was introduced to SNTC. Jessica’s siblings were initially unwilling to agree to a SNTC Trust for their father, but she pressed on. Her relative helped to explain the benefits of the Trust to her father and her siblings. Thankfully everyone finally agreed.
After the trust was set up, Jessica’s father was relieved because the squabbles over his monies ceased and everyone was assured that their father’s monies were in safe hands. Jessica’s father had agreed that after he passed on, any balance money in the trust will be distributed equally to his children. This instruction was recorded in the legal documents of the trust.
SNTC Case Manager liaised with the nursing home and verified her father’s monthly expenses before disbursing the money to pay for his home stay and other living expenses. Her siblings were also reimbursed for expenses incurred after they had outings with their father.
Jessica’s father passed away in the later years. SNTC acted according to his instructions and distributed the balance in the Trust to his children.
“SNTC managed the disbursement and distribution of the money professionally. Setting up the trust helped me to keep track of my dad’s money without worries or accountability to my siblings.”
STORY 4: RELIEVING FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT BURDEN FROM LOVED ONES IN THE FAMILY
Jonathan has intellectual disabilities and is unable to care for himself independently. He likes to go for car rides, and depending on his mood - he loves walking, running, playing with toys, and puzzles. His brother, Tim has moved overseas for work since and may immigrate to the country of his work. As an understanding and loving mother, Mdm Koh would not want him to be held back from achieving his own life aspirations and to carry the financial burden of Jonathan after she is no longer around.
Mdm Koh came to know about SNTC through the newspapers. In fact, she had heard Dr Vivian Balakrishnan speak about it. When SNTC was launched in 2009, she and her husband set up a SNTC Trust for Jonathan. Mdm Koh’s husband passed away in the year 2010, after he suffered a stroke. Initially, Mdm Koh had fears about what to do without her husband and being alone to take care of Jonathan. However, she gained courage and strength to stand on her own feet through her faith.
After knowing that Tim has decided to live overseas permanently, she was realistic that Jonathan will have to be placed in a home eventually. She took comfort that SNTC will administer the trust funds to look after him and make home visits to check on his well-being.
“When Tim decided to stay overseas for good, as a mother I cannot stop him because this is his life. I have to sacrifice where this is concerned. That is why I need to set up the Trust for Jonathan and I believe it is good for him.”
STORY 5: PEACE OF MIND FOR THE FUTURE
Christina is a cheerful and friendly young lady. Working in a café, she is even able to contribute to the family’s income. She is high functioning, therefore she is able to manage her daily living activities independently and does not need to be supervised all the time despite she has intellectual disability.
Christina stays with her mom, Joyce and her grandmother who has been taking care of her. She is also close to Daniel, Joyce’s brother, who dotes on her. Both Joyce and Daniel used to worry for Christina’s future - when both of them are no longer around to look after her. Although Christina is high functioning and fairly independent, she is very simple, trusting and vulnerable to manipulation.
Joyce also does not wish to pass on the financial burden to her other daughter, who has to care for her own son with autism. Initially, she did not even have the small cash outlay required to set up the Trust for Christina. Joyce is grateful that SNTC managed to help secure donation that made it possible for her to set up a SNTC Trust. The SNTC Trust for Christina now serves as an infrastructure to receive funds such as the proceeds from the eventual sale of Joyce’s HDB flat when she is no longer around.
“Now I have the peace of mind that SNTC will manage and administer funds that I will leave behind for Christina, and I can trust that the funds will be used for the sole benefit of her needs in the long term.”