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Update on delays in the Master’s Office

Most businesses have not been left unaffected by Covid. At Chartered Legacy and Trust our biggest challenges over the past year have been as a result of delays in the Master’s Office.

At Chartered Legacy we deal with the Master’s Office in the administration of our deceased estates as well as on various trust matters.

When South Africa went into Level 5 lockdown in March 2020 the Master’s Office closed, and only urgent matters were being dealt with. As lockdown was eased the Master’s Office opened but in a limited capacity and currently public access to their offices is very restricted. The result is that we are experiencing significant delays in receiving Letters of Executorship for new estates as well delays in the approval of Liquidation and Distribution Accounts. The Trust department at the Master’s Office seems to have been particularly badly impacted by lockdown and in some cases we have been waiting for over a year for feedback.

Other governmental departments such as the Deeds Registry Office and Municipal Council offices are also experiencing delays. The issuing of clearance certificates by the Council has delayed the transfer of properties which in turn create further delays when finalising estates.

We would like to assure our clients that we are being proactive in our approach and as a result we are slowly seeing results. We have processes in place and are following up regularly with the Master’s Offices. Should the situation require, we contact the Chief Master directly or The Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) which is the only professional body focusing solely on fiduciary practitioners in Southern Africa. This too is a slow process but is the avenue provided to us to escalate matters. We appreciate your patience while we work under these difficult conditions.