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Proc. No. 28 of 1902.
Abolition of Orphan Chamber.
Master of Supreme Court substituted for Orphan Master.
By His Excellency the Administrator of the Transvaal.
(DATED 16TH MAY, 1902.)
For Regulating the Administration of the Estates of
WHEREAS it is expedient to abolish the Orphan Chamber and the Office of Orphan Master within this Colony:
And whereas, it is expedient to alter and amend the law of this Colony relating to the registrations of wills, and the administration of estates and property of persons dying either testate or intestate :
And whereas, it is likewise expedient to alter and amend the law of this Colony relating to the administration and management of the estates and property of minors and lunatics, and in certain cases of persons absent from this Colony :
Now therefore, by virtue of the authority in me vested, I do hereby declare, proclaim and make known as follows:
MASTER OF SUPREME COURT SUBSTITUTED FOR ORPHAN
1. The Orphan Chamber within this Colony and the office of Orphan Master shall be, and are hereby, abolished.
2. All the duties which have heretofore been performed by the said Orphan Master shall henceforth be performed by the Master for the time being of the Supreme Court of the Transvaal, who shall be, and is hereby authorised and required to do, and cause to be done, every matter and thing which the said Orphan Master was by law authorised, or required to do, or cause to be done.
Transfer of administration from
3. All persons, property, estates, matters and things which Orphan Chamber to have at any time lawfully fallen, or been placed under, and which shall be at the time of the taking effect of this Proclamation under the guardianship, charge, or administration of the said Orphan Master shall be, and the same are hereby declared to be under the guardianship, charge and administration of the Master of the Supreme Court.
Proc. No. 28 of 1902. Custody of books,
4. All books, accounts, vouchers, records and other documents of whatsoever description which, if the said Orphan accounts and docuChamber had not been abolished, ought by law to have been ments. under the charge, control, or custody of the Orphan Master, shall be placed and shall be and remain under the charge, control, and custody of the Master of the Supreme Court.
ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONS.
Death notices to
5. Whenever any person shall die leaving any property in possession, reversion or expectancy, or leaving a will, the nearest Magistrate or Master. relative or connection of the deceased who shall be at, or near the place of death, and in default of any such near relative or connection the person who at or immediately after the death shall have the chief charge of the house in or of the place on which the death occurs, shall within fourteen days thereafter cause a notice of death to be framed in the form set out in the Schedule "A" to this Proclamation, and shall cause such notice signed by himself to be delivered or transmitted:
(a) To the Master if the death occurs in Pretoria or the
(b) To the Resident Magistrate of the District if the
And every Magistrate to whom such notice as aforesaid shall be given, shall cause the duplicate or copy thereof to be examined and compared with the original and if need be corrected and shall authenticate such duplicate or copy with his signature, and shall file and register the same and shall forthwith transmit the original notice to the Master. In case it shall appear that the person signing the death notice was not present at the death the Master may call upon such person for proof of death.
6. In case the information in any death notice is defective or insufficient, the Master may call upon any executor after his appointment to furnish such further information as may be mation. required, and every executor so called upon shall without delay return his written answers to such questions as the Master may put for that purpose.
If death notice defective executor to furnish further infor
7. Any person who shall fail to comply with the provisions of the fifth and sixth Sections of this Proclamation, shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding twenty pounds, or in default of payment thereof to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding three months.
Proc. No. 28 of 1902.
8. It shall be competent for any person to deposit with the Master, either open or enclosed under a sealed cover, any will, codicil, or testamentary instrument executed by him; and the Master shall keep, or cause to be kept, a register of the names and descriptions of the persons depositing every such deed and the date of depositing the same; and every such deed shall be accompanied by a duplicate or fair and true copy thereof, which, together with the original, shall be kept under the charge and custody of the Master until the death of the maker thereof, unless re-delivery of the same be demanded by the said maker, or in his lifetime by his lawful attorney specially authorised for that purpose, and when any such deed shall be re-delivered in manner aforesaid, the maker or his attorney as the case may be shall sign a receipt for the same.
9. Every person other than the Master, who shall at the time of the death of the maker thereof have in his possession any deed purporting to be, or entitled the last will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument of any other person, or into whose possession any such deed shall come after the death of the maker thereof, shall forthwith by the first opportunity deliver or transmit every such deed to the Master, when such person shall reside in Pretoria or the district thereof, and when such possessor shall reside in any other district of the Colony, then to the Resident Magistrate of the district in which he shall reside or be at the time, and if to the Magistrate, shall also deliver or transmit to him a duplicate or fair and true copy thereof, and every such Resident Magistrate shall cause such duplicate or copy to be examined and compared with the original, and if need be corrected, and shall authenticate such duplicate or copy with his signature, and shall file and register the same, and every such Magistrate shall forthwith transmit the original deed to the Master; provided always that if such Magistrate shall not be the Resident Magistrate of the district in which such deceased person ordinarily resided at the time of his death, he shall transmit the duplicate or copy of such will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument authenticated as aforesaid to the Resident Magistrate of such last mentioned district, and such last mentioned Magistrate shall file and register the same. Every Notary Public shall, when called upon by the Master to do so, transmit the original minute of any will, codicil, or testamentary instrument passed before him to the Master. Any person failing to comply with the provisions of this Section shall be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty pounds, or in default of payment to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding three months. 10. If any person shall, either during the life of the testator or after his death, steal, or wilfully destroy or conceal any will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument, every such offender shall upon conviction, be liable to imprisonment with or without hard labour for any period not exceeding seven
years, or to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds sterling, or to both such imprisonment and such fine; and it shall not in any indictment for such offence be necessary to allege that such will, codicil, or other instrument is the property of any person or is of any value: Provided always that nothing herein contained relating to the said offences nor any proceeding, conviction, acquittal, or judgment to be had or taken thereupon shall prevent, lessen, or impeach any remedy which any person aggrieved by any such offence might or would by law have had by means of any civil action, suit, or proceeding if this Proclamation had not been passed; but nevertheless the conviction of any such offender shall not be received as evidence against him, nor his acquittal as evidence for him in any such civil action, suit, or proceeding against him.
11. The Chief Justice, every Judge of the Supreme Court, and every Resident Magistrate or Justice of the Peace, upon information taken on oath being transmitted to him by the Attorney-General or any Public Prosecutor, or the Master, or upon the information of any person made on oath before any such Judge, Magistrate, or Justice of the Peace, that there is reason to suspect that any will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument is concealed in any place within the jurisdiction of such Judge, Magistrate, or Justice of the Peace may by warrant under his hand cause every such place to be searched.
12. If any person who shall reasonably be believed to be in possession of, or have under his control any will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument shall, after the death of the testator refuse or fail to deliver or transmit the same in manner herein before provided, the Master is hereby authorised and required forthwith to apply to the Supreme Court or any Judge thereof for an order of such Court or Judge on such person forthwith to deliver such will, codicil, or other instrument.
Proc. No. 28 of 1902.
Warrants to search for stolen or concealed
wills by Judges, Magistrates, &c.
Applications by Master to the Court
or a Judge for an order on persons refusing to give up wills.
13. Every deed being or purporting to be the will, codicil, or other testamentary instrument of any person which shall wills, &c., at testator's have been deposited with, or transmitted to the Master in manner herein before provided, shall after the death of the maker thereof, be enregistered by the Master in the register of Estates, for which purpose the Master is hereby authorised and required to open or cause to be opened, every such deed which may be sealed up. Provided always that notwithstanding any such registration, all questions as to the validity and legal effect of every such deed shall be reserved and remain for the decision of the Supreme Court; and provided that where such deed has been deposited with the Master previous to the death of the maker thereof, the Master shall cause the duplicate or copy deposited with the said deed to be examined and compared with the original, and if need be corrected, and shall authenticate such duplicate or copy with his signature and shall transmit the same to the Resident Magistrate of the district in which the deceased ordinarily resided at the time of his death, if such district is not the district of Pretoria, and the said Magistrate shall cause the same to be filed and registered.
Proc. No. 28 of 1902.
Inventory of estate in community by surviving spouse within thirty days of
Penalties on omission of inventory.
Inventory on the death of persons not married in commun
14. When one of two spouses who have been married in community of property shall die, the survivor shall within thirty days after the death of the deceased, cause an inventory of all property, goods and effects, movable and immovable of what kind soever, which at the time of the death shall have formed part of or belonged to, the estate possessed in community between the predeceasing and surviving spouses, to be made in the presence of two impartial witnesses being persons of good credit and repute, and of such persons having an interest in the distribution of the joint estate as heirs or legatees of the predeceased spouse who shall attend; and every such inventory shall be subscribed by the surviving spouse, the witnesses aforesaid, and such heirs and legatees as shall be present at the making thereof.
15. Every surviving spouse who shall wilfully neglect to cause an inventory of the joint estate to be made in manner and within the period herein before provided, or shall knowingly omit to enter in such inventory, any article of property of whatsoever kind, shall in the distribution of such estate, forfeit all right to and share in anything which may accrue to the joint estate after the death of the predeceasing spouse, and in and to such property so omitted in the inventory; and every loss which shall have been caused by the destruction or deterioration of any such property so omitted in the inventory, or which shall have accrued to the joint estate after the death of the predeceasing spouse by the loss or deterioration of any part thereof, shall in the distribution of the estate fall upon and be borne by such surviving spouse solely and exclusively. Provided always that nothing herein contained shall free or exempt any person who shall wilfully or for any fraudulent purpose make or cause to be made any false inventory of any such joint estate from any penalty or punishment hereinafter or by any other law provided with respect to the offence of making false inventories.
16. On the death of any person not being one of two spouses married in community of property, the wife or husband of the deceased, or in default or absence of the wife or husband, the child or children of the deceased, or in default absence or minority of the child or children, the next of kin of the deceased, or in default absence or minority of the next of kin, the person who at or immediately after the death shall have the chief charge of the house in, or of the place on which the death shall occur, shall within fourteen days after the death, make or cause to be made in the presence of two impartial witnesses, being persons of good credit and repute, an inventory of all goods and effects belonging to the deceased and being in the house or upon the premises at the time of the death, and of all other goods and effects known by the person making or causing such inventory to be made to have belonged to the