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Wills held at Master's office

Question:
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?

Answer:
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.

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