Suffixes for identification of Offices of the Masters of the High Court
Application of this circular and repeal of CRC 17 of 2014
1.1. The procedure relating to inter vivos trust as contained in paragraphs 2.4 and 3.1 of CRC 17 of 2014 is creating confusion. Deeds and documents are rejected in instances where a registration number of a trust that was registered prior to 15 September 2014, contains a suffix.
1.2. The purpose of this Circular is to create uniformity in deeds registries with regard to the application of Chief Master's Directive 7 of 2014 that deals with the identification of the Offices of the Masters of the High Court.
1.3. CRC 17 of 2014 is hereby withdrawn and substituted with this Circular.
2. Suffixes for inter vivos trust registrations
2.1. Letters of Authority issued in respect of trust registrations must, with effect from 15 September 2014, in terms of Chief Master's Directive 7 of 2014, contain a suffix after the registration number in order to enable the identification of the issuing office, for example IT 1/2014(G) for Johannesburg.
2.2. The trust number of trusts registered prior to 15 September 2014 will not reflect the suffix, unless an amendment has been made due to a change in such trust. In such instance the suffix will be added to the trust number indicated on the new letter of authority.
2.3. The following suffixes must be used for purposes of identifying the inter vivos trust files of the various Masters Offices:
2.4. It remains the responsibility of the conveyancer who prepares the relevant deed or document for registration, to ensure that the correct suffix is included in the trust number.
3. Effective date
3.1. All deeds and documents lodged for registration on or after 19 March 2018 must reflect the correct information. A conveyancer's certificate may be accepted to indicate the date of the registration of the trust in instances where it is uncertain whether a trust has been registered prior or after 15 September 2014.
3.2. Applications and documents, excluding deeds containing an execution clause, signed before 19 March 2018 and not reflecting the relevant suffix, may still be accepted for registration.
3.3. A conveyancer's certificate may be accepted in instances where transfer duty receipts do not reflect the relevant suffix in the trust number.
3.4. A section 4 (1) (b) application need not be lodged for the rectification of any deed that has been registered prior to the date of issuing of this circular. A factual endorsement may be made to indicate the change in addition of the suffix to registration number.
This CRC is creating some confusion in KZN as, notwithstanding the Chief Masters directive, the Master in Pietermaritzburg has issued a number of LAs with the suffice ''PMB'' instead of ''N'' - and although this has been addressed with the Chief registrar and the Pietermaritzburg registry, no comments have been received - except that the PMB registry has indicated that it will apply the CRC. It is most unsatisfactory. One would think that the conveyancer must follow the LAs issued by the Master - and that it is NOT up to the conveyancer or notary to go back to the Master to get the LAs amended to follow the Chief Master's directive.
I was in contact with Deputy Master at Cape Town some time ago and started this change, as far as I am aware. There was a clear discrepancy between CRC17/2014 and Chief Master's Directive 7/2014. However, at that time and still we see some new LA's being issued with the suffix and some without. It is clear that the intention is to be able to see where the LA was issued in respect of an inter vivos trust. However, with the Master Cape Town not being consistent in their practice uncertainty prevails.
Should conveyancers refer the LA's without suffixes back to the Master for the suffix to be added? A similar situation also exists with regard to the prefix IT or T. Successive LA's in respect of the same trust would vary helter skelter between T and IT with the result that titles sometimes are rectified in terms of section 4(1)(b) only for an LA to be issued which differs to the way the title was "rectified". Maybe the Chief Master can also make a decision on this problem as well.
Some principles which seem to cause confusion..... The name of a trust is determined by the trust deed itself, and not by the name of the trust on the LAs issued by the Master. The number of the trust is that allocated by the Master, and which is reflected on the LAs. Where the Master changes the prefix on the LAs to read IT from T, for example, or where the suffix is changed by the Master, these should not require any section 4(1)(b) application (unless, of course, there was an error in registration at the time). It should be left up to the conveyancer to certify the correct position. These are all formal changes, and nothing further should be required. It is up to the conveyancer (or notary, obviously) to satisfy him or herself of the correct position.
Unless all the Master's offices are consistent and ensure that the Chief Master's directive 7 of 2014 are strictly adhered to there will be LA's issued after 15 September 2015 in respect of inter vivos trusts which do not comply with the directive. I have recently had a Notarial Deed rejected by the Deeds Office in PMB because a will trust had no suffix or prefix T or IT allocated to it as the LA did not have this. I believe the solution is to leave it to the conveyancer who should follow the LA issued at the time and if this changes when next dealing with the property then use the new number and lodge a copy of the new LA as in the case of change of names of companies.
I also initially had problems trying to understand the application of this CRC. However, as I interpret it where a trust was created prior to 15 September 2014 and no amendments to the trust deed were effected, no suffix is required. Any trust registered thereafter or any trust in terms of which new letters of authorization were issued after 15 September 2014 or w must contain a suffix.