In a  recent statement, the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) called on all South African banks to investigate why it is taking months to provide basic information to executors administering deceased estates. 

Even though it is easy to blame the public sector for the delays experienced in finalising deceased estates, some banks have informed estate administrators, including those at Barnard, that their general turnaround time for a simple certificate of balance can be up to 90 working days. This means that the administration process could be delayed for over four months – just to receive the information. This, of course, does not include the process of receiving funds which could be another 90 working days.

The delay is significant as the Administration of Estates Act only provides six months for the submission of the Liquidation and Distribution Account, so the banks are making it tremendously difficult for administrators to deliver a professional service to clients, while still complying with the Act. It is a relief that the Act provides for applications to extend the lodgment of the Liquidation and Distribution Account, but this in turn causes additional administrative backlogs at the Master's Office – all which could be avoided if the banks kept to their initial promises towards their deceased clients in which they promised to deliver exceptional services.

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