Newsletter 58 (Jul 2021)
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August is Women’s Month and Women’s Day will be celebrated on 09 August 2021 when we remember the brave women who marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria in 1956 to petition for the removal of pass laws and violence against women. On this day, we celebrate the strength and resilience of women as well as their contribution to society and the country as a whole. It affords us the opportunity to pay tribute to the generations of women whose struggles laid the foundation for the progress made in empowering women and achieving gender equality to date. This day also draws the attention to many of the important issues that women in Africa still face today: domestic violence, discrimination and harassment in the workplace, equal pay, education for girls and more.
FIVE REASONS WHY A PARENT SHOULD MAKE A WILL
Read more about this in our next edition
DELAYS IN SERVICE DELIVERY
At EFBOE, we always endeavour to deliver excellent service in all sectors of our business. We appreciate that you are at the front line when dealing with clients and we remain committed to our values that underpin delivering the best service that we can. The effect of the COVID-19 crisis can be seen daily and is experienced in every aspect of our lives, which has a detrimental effect on the normal outcome of events.
Since the onset of the pandemic, EFBOE has experienced an exponential increase in the number of deaths reported, which has placed our capacity model under tremendous strain. Turnaround times have been significantly impacted by the challenges that we have to face relating to the Master’s offices countrywide. Across the board, businesses have been affected negatively by the effects that this pandemic, and the measures taken against it, has had on the normal flow of business.
In addition to this, the limited capacity and huge backlogs that organisations such as the Master’s offices, the South African Revenue Services (SARS), the Deeds offices and municipalities are facing owing to the current situation, further exacerbate the challenges being faced. These services form an integral part of the deceased estate administration process.
The recent countrywide protest action placed a further backlog burden on service providers as some Master’s offices and other organisations were closed completely because of the unrest and vandalism that accompanied the protests. Most Master’s offices are in the centre of the central business districts (CBDs). This has a direct effect on the administration of deceased estates.
Some of the challenges being experienced are:
Master’s offices countrywide are reporting major delays in issuing Letters of Executorship. The waiting period has doubled to receive the Letters of Executorship, without which EFBOE cannot commence with the administration of an estate. We can only start with the process after the Master has appointed us as executor. No institution will respond to correspondence without this document.
SARS must issue a tax clearance certificate before an estate can be finalised. This is another essential document where delays are being experienced because of personnel constraints and huge backlogs.
The intermittent closure of municipalities and/or capacity constraints cause a slow response to requests for outstanding utility bills and have also led to delays in receiving rates clearance certificates, which is another essential document required to transfer fixed properties. The current situation also delays the renewal of licences and the transfer of vehicles.
Deeds offices are also experiencing huge backlogs which, in turn, have created challenges in transferring fixed properties. The turnaround times for property transfers have increased dramatically in some instances owing to these delays.
Banks are also under pressure and are thus slow in providing tax certificates, bank statements and certificates of bank balances, as well as payments to deceased estates.
A little light in the tunnel is that the Master’s offices are in the process of piloting an online reporting system, which they hope to still launch this year. The huge overall backlogs will have an impact for a long time to come, until all outstanding work has been caught up with.
We are aware that these delays in service delivery have a huge impact on the heirs of an estate, but we are still doing our utmost to assist as far as is currently possible. Our staff have been under tremendous pressure owing to the dramatic increase in workload. They are dealing with clients’ emotional states of fear, anger and stress at the loss of a breadwinner, the loss of more than one member from the same family and the extended isolation brought on by this pandemic.
The delays in service delivery from organisations that form an integral part of the administration process, have an impact on all entities involved in the administration of deceased estates. We appeal to you as an important link in the chain to assist us to create awareness and understanding with your clients around the challenges currently being experienced.
Even under these difficult circumstances in the current environment, where we have no control over service delivery from outside service providers - which influence the timeline for finalising estates - we still endeavour to do our utmost, as excellent and efficient service will always remain one of our main objectives.
Thousands of flowers have bloomed in the town of Sidmouth in England
Thanks to the dying wish of a Canadian investment banker, Keith Owen, the town of Sidmouth in Devon, England, was decorated with thousands of flowering bulbs.
Keith planned to retire in Sidmouth where his mother lived. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away in 2007 at the age of 69. He bequeathed his entire savings of £2.3 million to the town’s Sid Vale Association with the wish for a million flowers to be planted. He felt that “Sidmouth represented England as it used to be”.
Until next time!
The Let’s Talk EFBOE Team