Are you a Trustee of an Inter Vivos Trust, but cannot find the original Trust Deed or Letter of Authority when the Trust’s Bankers ask for these details for FICA purposes? Do you have a query about an old estate, or need copies of documents from the Master’s office for some other purpose?
The procedure to obtain information on a Trust is as follows:
- Written application should be made to the Office where the Trust is registered, providing reasons why this information is needed.
- If the request is by a trustee, his/her surety or representative, they will have automatic access to any information/documents in the file.
- The Master must exercise discretion on the application of any other person, and weigh up the interest of the parties involved, including Trustees and beneficiaries, to decide whether or not the information should be provided.
- Should a request for information be denied by the Master’s Office, the applicant will need to apply to the Information Officer of the Department of Justice.
It would seem, therefore, that as long as the applicant can provide reasons and show “a sufficient interest” in respect of the trust, the Master should supply him/her with the information.
A similar application procedure can be followed to obtain copies from the Master’s records for Deceased Estates.
Keep in mind that the Master’s office charges a fee for copies. These fees will go up significantly from 1 January 2018. Where the Master’s documents have been archived to the Western Cape Archives (Matters before 1996), they have a similar procedure, and also charge a fee for the copies.
Please contact our Estate and Trust Department, should you require assistance with copies of documents from the Master’s office.