I am a member of the Wills Estates and Trusts committee of the Cape Law Society and we had a meeting with the Head Master yesterday afternoon.
With little prior notice or warning the Master introduced new forms and procedures to be submitted and complied with as from November last year. This sudden change caught many practitioners off guard as they were still submitting trusts with outdated supporting documents to the Master. On top of this the Master also relocated their offices at the end of 2013 and both events led to a delay in the issue of letters of authority for trusts as the Master refused to administer trusts with supporting documents that are non-compliant with the new forms.
The good news is that at the meeting yesterday – the Master issued a kind of “moratorium” that they will accept the “old” and new forms up to the end of March. As from 1 April 2014 only the new forms will be accepted.
We thus urge all attorneys whose trust registrations “got stuck” with problems of such a nature to urgently contact the office of the Master to assist in this regard.
Meyer de Waal
The problem is that you cannot get hold of any body at the Master's Office. Nobody is answering their phones or emails.
Etienne Indeed - it was a matter that was also discussed at the meeting - I suggest get a letter out to the Masters office - if you have a similar situation re the trust. Telephone conduct. They assured us that they are working on the telephone conduct - if you have complaints - in the W Cape - pse send to me that we can submit via the Law Society Wills & Trust committee.
I am busy with a deceased estate and they are requesting divorce papers from an overseas ex spouse who was divorced from the deceased about 40 years ago. I am trying to locate the ex spouse via family but would they really have the divorce papers after 40 years. In the meantime I have tried to phone the relevant master to ask how we can get around this but to no avail. It is virtually impossible to get them to answer their phones and one cannot physically go to their offices every time you have a query. A really poor show from such a vital Government Department.
We have filed the new documents required for trust on 20 February 2014 and we advised that the Letters of Appointment will be issued by the latest 28 February 2014. We have since on numerous occasions tried to get hold of someone at the trust department but without any success. Emails are not answered and when you phone and someone answers the phone (well you have the same chance as winning the lotto) the person can only take messages and will pass it on for further action which off course never happens.
In my one Estate - I have been waiting for Letters of Executorship since November 2013. Master has a query which I replied to in November 2013, but to date, still waiting for the L/E. Our clerk goes constantly to follow up, but was told a month ago already that we would receive it in a week's time.... still waiting. Now I phoned and they are trying to find the file. Another two of my Estates - waiting on L/E for 2 months. Our clients are not impressed with us and it is now really embarrassing to say that we are doing all what we possibly can do but that everything is dependent on the Master.
I thought with the Master moving offices, they would be better, but they have gone downhill. Files have gone missing in two of my Estates, e-mails are never answered, neither are telephones. What can be done to about the Master's Office?