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FISA Heritage Project – an anecdotal interlude

When is a major not a major?

David Knott, a former FISA Deputy Chairperson and a director of Private Client Holdings, has an amusing anecdote about his first experience working for a bank.

In 1968 he was straight of school, needing to find a job for a short period before doing his military service. Barclays Bank offered him a position in their trusts department.

He sat at a desk in a large room with four others and was given a file of estates to process. On the first death notice, he read that the deceased was a “major” and, being straight of school and having army on his mind, assumed the man was a Major in the army. To his puzzlement the next estate to process also belonged to a “major” and it was only on about the fourth file that the penny dropped that this was a different kind of a major.

Wills drafting – the way it was

FISA members know all about the importance of accurate will drafting. But think back to the days before computers, cut-and-paste and spell check.

Earlier in his career, Erik Troost, now MD of African Mutual Trust Bank, was working in the legal department of Boland Bank in Paarl and was interested to note that the best typist in the department was the always person who had to type out the wills. That made perfect sense to him – because any error on the document would have to have been signed by the testator and witnesses, all present!

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