Master’s Offices bottleneck creating difficulties for attorneys and their clients

Feb 26, 2021 | Article

SA’s legal practitioners, already disgruntled with alleged corruption at the country’s 15 Master’s Offices, say the disarray in winding up deceased estates – worsened by Covid-19 deaths – risks taking them out of the R30bn sector. Business Day says the functioning of the offices has been a contentious issue with concerns raised especially over the huge backlogs. The pandemic has worsened the situation as Covid-19 deaths add to the bottleneck of deceased estates.

Louis van Vuren, CEO of the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa, a non-profit organisation representing fiduciary practitioners, said that while turnaround times and service levels ‘are under strain in most Master’s Offices’, this did not apply to all as some offices cope better with their workload than others. ‘The vast majority of complaints from the major centres in the last three years relate to the Master’s Offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, while no complaints have been received about the offices in Bloemfontein and Kimberley.’

A G Jenkins Attorneys have a roster of it’s Candidate Attorneys who visit the Pietermaritzburg Master’s Office two or three times a week to personally follow up on matters requiring attention by the Master’s Office, in order to try and expedite matters, and so we have luckily been able to manage the situation as best as possible in the current situation.