The Chief Master of the High Court, Adv Lester Basson, unveiled his office’s plans for an online system for fiduciary practitioners and the public at the Gauteng FISA meeting on 2 September. The press release follows below below. Click too for some media coverage.
Press release by FISA
Welcome development from Master’s Office
|The Chief Master of the High Court has announced that fiduciary practitioners and the public will be able to track trust and estate administration matters online.
Speaking at a meeting of the Fiduciary Institute of South Africa (FISA) in Johannesburg, Chief Master Adv Lester Basson said: “Masters’ Offices spend too much time drawing wp-content/uploads and answering questions by members of the public relating to the contents of wp-content/uploads. Sometimes it is not clear in which office a certain file is kept and this leads to frustrations and delay. Steps have been taken to ease these problems by giving members of the public access to a public portal with information on the Master’s Office integrated case management system. Information on the portal is updated daily.
“From today, members of the public can now find out online exactly in which Master’s Office a deceased estate is being administered and have the reference number,” said Adv Basson.
“This is a work in progress,” he said. “More information will be available soon, for instance details of the executor, and accounts lodged and examined by the Master.”
The portal link for members of the public is https://icmsweb.justice.gov.za/mastersinformation
The module for deceased estates has been developed further than the modules for insolvencies, liquidations, curatorships/guardianships and trusts.
The initiative has been initiated and guided by Tienie Cronje, a researcher of the South African Law Reform Commission
FISA has welcomed the news, saying it will streamline processes for executors and should lead to a significant improvement to turnaround times in the finalisation of deceased estates in particular.
FISA chairman, John Gibson, said: “This system will not only improve efficiencies, but will also assist executors in many other ways. A nominated executor will for instance be able to establish whether a later or earlier Will was lodged with the Master’s office before he proceeds with the administration of the estate. This will save time and prevent family members from having to attend unnecessary meetings during a very emotional time.”
Aaron Roup, FISA Secretary on 011 294 8262 or 082 449 2569
Chief Master, Adv LG Basson on 082 381 9185 or LBasson@justice.gov.za
Or Lucy Reyburn of .word
082 922 7483
Notes to Editors
The Master’s Office falls under the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. A Master of the High Court is appointed for every provincial division of the High Court of South Africa. Masters’ Offices are situated in Bloemfontein , Cape Town , Grahamstown , Kimberley , Mmabatho/Mafikeng , Pietermaritzburg , Pretoria , Umtata , Bisho, Thohoyandou, Johannesburg, Polokwane, Durban, and Port Elizabeth.
The office was without a permanent Chief Master for several years until the recent appointment of Adv Lester Basson who had been Acting Chief Master since February 2010..
The SA Law Reform Commission
Tienie Cronje, researcher at the SA Law Reform Commission, listed the following future benefits once the necessary systems are in place:
- Automation of processes.
- Front office back office to deal with service point matters (magistrates offices) and other matters.
- Appointment of an executor in every estate, but dispense with all or some of the requirements depending on the circumstances.
- Streamline the examination of accounts.
- Certify all practitioners and overhaul disciplinary measures.
- Monitor legislation for necessary changes to support the processes.
Master’s Office integrated case management system
This forms part of a larger system which also provides for cases in the magistrates’ courts. It connects more than 400 magistrates’ offices (deceased estate service points) and all of the Masters’ Offices.
New matters are registered live on the system and the information is available to officials of the Master’s office and service points. Statistical reports with useful management information can be generated by the Chief Master at will.
The deceased estate module has been developed more than the modules for insolvencies, liquidations, curatorships/guardianships and trusts. The public can register a deceased estate online and complete estate forms and documents. Information like the names of the deceased need to be entered once only for all the forms. Forms can be generated and printed electronically for signature and the information on the forms is available centrally without reference to the wp-content/uploads. Deceased estates are all registered on the system which checks for duplicate registrations countrywide.
The modules for insolvencies, liquidations, curatorships/guardianships and trusts make provision for registration of matters and need further IT development before they can be used for the registration of all matters.
The other modules will also be developed in line with the module for deceased estates. The developments are dependent on technical work outside the control of the Master and the Master cannot announce completion dates. Pressure is applied to ensure that progress is made.
The Fiduciary Institute of South Africa (FISA) is a non-profit organisation that represents fiduciary practitioners and sets high minimum standards for the industry to protect the public’s interests.
Activities of FISA members include but are not restricted to the drafting of wills, administration of trusts and estates, tax and financial advice and the management of client funds.
FISA encourages the public to make sure they deal with a FISA member when it comes to Will drafting and trusts and estate planning. The public can be assured that that practitioner meets rigid minimum standards both with regard to fiduciary competence as well as integrity and honesty. He or she also has the necessary administration systems in place to provide a professional service.
FISA has 21 corporate members and over 600 individual members, who collectively manage in excess of R200 billion.
The institute works closely with government to assist in reducing unnecessary cumbersome legislation and to streamline many processes, particularly within the office of the Master of the High Court and SARS.