The administration of trusts is governed by the provisions of the Trust Property Control Act, Act 57 of 1988.

There are two types of trusts, e.g. an inter-vivos trust and a testamentary trust:
(a) An inter-vivos trust is created between living persons.
(b) A testamentary trust derives from a valid will of a deceased.

The following documents must be lodged in order to enable the Master to register an inter-vivos trust and to issue letters of authority to the nominated trustee(s).

1.     Original trust deed or notarial certified copy thereof.
2.     Due to the abolition of stamp duty Master’s fees, a registration fee of R100 must be paid into the Department of Justice’s bank account.
3.     Completed Acceptance of Trusteeship by each trustee accompanied by a certified copy of the photo page of each trustee’s ID document.
4.     Bond of security by the trustees – form J344 (if required by the Master).
5.     All the requirements listed on form JM21.
6.     An undertaking by an Auditor – see paragraph 5.2 on form JM21 (if applicable).

For a testamentary trust only requirements 3 to 5 have to be lodged. There are no fees involved and the deceased’s last will serves as the trust document.

The inter-vivos trust must be registered with the Master in whose area of jurisdiction the greatest portion of the trust assets are situated. If more than one Master has jurisdiction over the trust assets, the Master in whose office the trust was first registered will continue to have jurisdiction.

On receipt of all the required documents, the Master may issue the nominated trustees with Letters of Authority, to administer the trust. No trustee may act as such without the written authority of the Master.

Trustees should keep accurate financial statements to comply with their fiduciary obligations to the beneficiaries. The Master may request the trustees to account for the administration of the trust.

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