Faraid and the Fear of Discrimination: "Dee"'s accelerated need for legacy planning

An unexpected diagnosis of breast cancer not only brought about emotional turmoil, but also the added challenge of navigating the complexities of legacy planning.

Join Dee in her journey and find out what it's like to explore the legal landscape for a bisexual Muslim woman in Singapore.

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A free medical check-up from her insurance gave Dee a nasty shock: she was diagnosed with cancer.

“I freaked out, obviously,” she says. “What do I do now? How much longer am I going to live?”

Dee shares that the only supportive person in her journey was her-then partner of 5 years. “When I was rolled out of the operating theatre after 11 hours, she was there,” says Dee. “She held my hand and said, ‘Hey, you’re good, you’re okay.'” Her parents, on the other hand, were immediate to deflect blame. “My parents didn’t quite understand… They were like, it didn’t come from me.”

When I was rolled out of the operating theatre after 11 hours, she was there. She held my hand and said, 'Hey, you're good, you're okay.'"

Dee

To Dee, having cancer underscored her need for legacy planning. “I want to feel that I’ve appreciated people who’s been in my life. The right people deserve a part of me when I’m gone — my wealth or my assets, whatever I have,” she says.

But her experiences with her family and colleagues at work made her hesitant. “I have a fear of discrimination. At work, there were instances where people suspected I wasn’t straight. And they made jokes. They were derogatory.” Her parents on the other hand, did not acknowledge her sexuality, and she is not close with her father. “They’re in denial. They were like, ‘I know, but I’m not going to acknowledge that you’re not straight’,” she says.

Because of these experiences, Dee is fearful that legacy planning professionals will treat her the same way. “For example, if I went to the CPF Board to change my nomination, how would these officers treat me if I were to nominate someone else outside my family, say my girlfriend?”

But at the same time, as a Muslim, Dee also faces some dissonance with the faraid, the Muslim law in dictates how her assets are distributed. According to the faraid, the male beneficiaries receive twice the assets compared to their female counterparts. “In the context of the faraid, males have higher accountability and responsibility. But that is the normal context of family and relationship. What about me, as a bisexual?”

“I still feel close to my religion, but I guess it doesn’t apply to me or is relevant to me,” she says. “But for me, I want the partner who has been taking care of me while I’m ill to receive my legacy.”

But on top of all these issues, Dee feels there needs to be more information to support people in the community facing similar issues. “A platform or a resource, can give people comfort and clarity that they’re not alone. It’s about giving people clarity.”

Dee hopes that by sharing her story, other people in the community feel heard and supported. “I want to give people a peace of mind by sharing my story,” she says. “There are people out there facing similar issues, with discrimination, with issues with their legacy planning because of all these fears of not being accepted, whether by society or the community.”

Disclaimer: Names have been changed to protect Dee’s identity.