Inspiring, Meaningful and Authentic visions shared from both Masters of the High Court in KwaZulu-Natal and Executors Role

The administration of an estate is not dependent on one aspect or institution but multiple aspects and institutions working well together. It is important to understand that the core function of the Master of the High Court is to oversee the administration of deceased estates. One of the key roles of the Masters office is to protect and serve the public. Our discussion and content below are aimed to add value and insight, and ultimately to provide clarity and encouragement.

Marsh Fidelity – How can we in an Executors Role help the Master of the High Court

For estates to run smoothly, there are a number of aspects that an executor needs to pay attention to.

In consistently doing the points listed below, we are adding value to the Masters office in a positive way:

  1. Firstly, it is so important that individuals in our community have valid, well written wills in place. A professional executor should support the community in this way by making their services accessible. When drafting a will, the professional executor should take into consideration all possible contingencies. It is important to be clear and to make sure all legal requirements are met. Finally, it is important also to ensure that the will aligns correctly with the individual testator’s wishes.
  2. At Marsh Fidelity, we believe that investing in education in our field of expertise and studying the relevant legislation adds value. In addition to this, being part of a governing body like FISA increases the quality of our work lodged at the Masters office. With education comes clarity. The clearer our work and communication, the easier it is for the Master to supervise and work together with us. The best way to facilitate efficiency is through clarity. As a business, our mission statement is to create an enduring difference through all we do and this is both with interactions with the Masters offices, their teams and the communities we serve in.
  3. Work with the Master and not against the Masters office. Although there are challenges, we must always remember that the Masters office is made up of public servants who are there to serve and protect the public. The Department of Justice is there to bring justice to the people.
  4. Always use the estate reference number on correspondence lodged at the Masters office. This makes it easier for the Master to correctly direct the correspondence to the corresponding file and prevents unnecessary delays.

Meaningful insights from our Director – Daniel Marsh

Our Director, Daniel Marsh, added, “I am confident in the positive progress to be made in the Masters office in KwaZulu-Natal going forward. Although there are still aspects to improve on, one of which is to look at improving the file management and storage systems at the Masters. By doing this the delays experienced in locating miss placed files will be greatly reduced. In my view this will lead to a better flow all round.”.

“So yes, there are areas to improve on but there always will be, in all professions. I still look to the future with confidence in the abilities of the Masters office in our home province. This confidence is based on the fact that the leaders of both offices are incredible public servants at heart. I have also experienced that there are team members in both offices who really care and work hard. This is both from new and experienced team members”.

“This really encourages me as a practicing professional in the community. The leaders of the Pietermaritzburg Masters office, Mrs Letshego Moathludi, and the Durban Masters office, Mr Edric Pascoe, have a collective work experience in the Masters offices of over 40 years. This level of loyalty, service and experience as leaders is a gift to us as a community”.

Insightful updates and visions shared with Marsh Fidelity from both Masters of the High Courts in KwaZulu-Natal

Marsh Fidelity reached out to both the Masters in KwaZulu-Natal for their vision for the future as they lead going into the 2025 financial year.

Mrs Moatlhudi, the Master of Pietermaritzburg: Insights and Vision

Mrs Moatlhudi shared with Marsh Fidelity, “My vision for the Master Pietermaritzburg is to create an atmosphere where everyone from all walks of life is treated with the utmost dignity and humility that they deserve. Our office is an office that interacts with people who have in most cases lost loved ones and they come to our office bruised and hurt. I want to create an environment where the public as well as our staff feel welcome and a place where humanity and the rights of the vulnerable are protected”.

“Having been in the Master’s office for over 20 years, I know the needs of both public and staff members alike. The main purpose of us being here should be to make the life of someone who needs our services easier by providing efficient and speedy service. The Master’s office is in the process of streamlining our procedures in an endeavour to provide peace of mind to our clients”.

Leadership through sincere relationships with the community and team

“I want to be a servant leader because my belief is that being exemplary can cascade from the top to the bottom. I’m harnessing relationships with labour so that the complaints of my staff are attended to, and the channels of communication have been open in the past three years so that public gets the assistance they require whether via email or in person”.

Mr Pascoe, the Master of Durban: Insights and Vision

Mr Pascoe shared with Marsh Fidelity, “The vision for the Master Durban is to ensure that, regardless of staff and budget limitations, we deliver an improved level of service to the community at large and to the stakeholders that attend on our office be it for deceased estates, trusts, curatorship’s, insolvencies or liquidations”.

“We acknowledge that we might not at this stage be where we want to be however with the online deceased estate registration platform, which this Durban Office and a FISA Stakeholder have pushed the DOJ&CD to finalise the development of, and a move towards Online lodgment of liquidation and distribution accounts, I believe we will be in a much better position to reach a stage where we will be able to reach our annual performance plan targets (APP Targets) in 2025. Currently we are meeting our APP targets in all but one area, that being the examination of distribution accounts”.


“My mission is to have all practitioners using the online system in the next 3 months which will allow me to release estate controllers to the accounts examination section to assist with the examination of estate accounts as it is unlikely that our four vacancies in the office (or any future vacancies) will be able to be filled in the foreseeable future. We are anticipating the online lodgment of accounts to be piloted during September 2024 and, all going well, to be introduced to all Masters Offices in April 2025 if not sooner”.


“It is my further intention to have us relocated to a better part of Durban that is more accessible and safer for members of public and stakeholders. This might be further down the line that I hope, however it is my intention to ensure we have a much-improved premises with more space for staff to consult, as and when we need to consult, bearing in mind that with the online system consultations will be reduced”.

Turnaround Times

“Regarding our turnaround times and targets, it is my vision to get the Masters Offices, and Durban in particular, to being able to issue Section 42(2) endorsements (or queries) within 3 working days. To answer general correspondence within 15 working days, and to answer all phone calls and emails without exception. To fight for and ensure the development of systems to allow for these goals to be achieved. Finally, it is my vision, through close collaboration with our stakeholders (especially FISA and the LPC), to work on dramatically reducing fraud in deceased estates administration, which the new QR Coded Letters of Appointment, as introduced by the Office of the Chief Master, is hopefully a starting point towards”.

Exciting and meaningful developments being implemented by the Masters office

Marsh Fidelity recently attended a Webinar hosted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJCD) which presented service providers with training on the new deceased estates online system currently being rolled out at offices of the Master of the High Court around the country.

The new innovative Deceased Estates Online System has been operational since December 2023 and has successfully created a portal for online registration and tracking of deceased estates, submission of required documents and appointment of executors, as well as scheduling of appointments at the Masters office and training and education on the services offered by the Master of the High Court.

Keep an eye on our blog for a future post to come regarding the goals set by the DOJCD. We will discuss the progress being made at the offices of the Master around the country. Download the Marsh Fidelity App for android or apple to stay up to date with news on Wills, Estates and Trust.


It is so important for families and stakeholders to understand that the administration of an estate is dependent on multiple aspects and institutions working well together. The main function of the Master of the High Court is to oversee the administration of deceased estates.

Executors and executor’s agents must work with the Master and not against them by investing in education within the field, keeping up to date on relevant legislation and by encouraging everyone to have valid wills in place. To go a step further, help support the management of wills so they are kept up to date and current. This will help the Master to avoid delays by, for example, including estate reference numbers on all correspondence to the Master.

In closing, it really encourages us to know that the Master of the High Court in KwaZulu-Natal is in good hands with the greatly experienced Mr. Pascoe and Mrs. Moatshludi at the helm as the Masters of Durban and Pietermaritzburg respectively. Their commitment and experience is a blessing to us all.

We look forward to checking in next year to see how these visions and goals align. Working together ultimately benefits the most important stakeholders, the families in our communities.

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