From midnight on 27 March 2020, the Master of the High Court went into lockdown along with the rest of South Africa to combat the spread of Covid-19.
While some administration-driven companies are able to run certain operations remotely, the same cannot be said for the Master’s office. Most if not all of the workstations are desktops, which limits the staff from working at home. Furthermore, the authority derived from the documentation held by the Master is so far-reaching that the risks associated with taking files off-site does not allow for remote operations.
Considering these two points, the Master’s office indicated that there will only be skeleton staff present during the lockdown period, and those staff members will only be dealing with the reporting of Section 18.3 deceased estates.
Some context: a Section 18.3 deceased estate is an estate with a value of R250 000 or less. Typically, with such an estate, the appointment of an executor under Letters of Authority is required with urgency to enable the family to obtain funds from a funeral policy, or to access the funds of the deceased so as to make final arrangements.
All documents related to higher-value estates will be held over until the end of the lockdown period.
The loss of a loved one is devastating at the best of times, even more so now with Covid-19 spreading panic and global uncertainty. Sentinel International would like to reassure our clients that we are still here for you, even though our physical offices are also closed. In the event of a loved one passing away, we can conduct video consultations and speak face-to-face, so that we can answer all the important questions about what must happen next. All the relevant information and documents will be collated, so that when the Master’s office reopens at full capacity, the reporting of the estate can be done at the earliest opportunity.
It might be business as unusual, but we will do our best to provide you with the same level of service you have come to expect from us.
Our regional contacts are as follows:
Western Cape: Johann de Vos email@example.com
Eastern Cape: Sue Clark firstname.lastname@example.org
Gauteng: Marietjie Strauss email@example.com
KZN: Adele van den Bergh firstname.lastname@example.org