I refer to your article in the 11 Feb 2010 edition of Finweek.
You mention that fewer than 5m wills are registered with the Master’s office – are you referring to wills lodged with the Master in terms of section 8(3) of the Administration of Estates Act and the register he is required to maintain of these – i.e. being the register of wills lodged by persons who are in possession of the will at the time of death of the person who executed it?
Unfortunately it is not normal practise for Wills to be held at the Masters Office’s prior to death, (although there are some Wills held like this), as is the requirement / practise in some other countries.
Taking into account FISA’s representation in the Industry, and with some knowledge of the total Wills held for clients of FISA accredited members, the 5 million Wills we refer to are Wills of clients, held by FISA accredited practitioners, extrapolated to fit the Industry as a whole.
In short, these are the number of Wills we estimate to be in circulation, but could include duplicated Wills (later / earlier) held at multiple institutions / legal practitioners.