I experienced the office of the Gauteng Master of the High Court this week. I went in to try and get a document for an estate I am helping wind up, of a client who lived in Johannesburg. We had repeatedly tried from down here to have the document sent to us, but to no avail.
You know ahead that its going to be one of ‘those’ visits. Like going to Home Affairs. So I put aside a few hours, packed all my patience and headed into Johannesburg’s CBD after the morning rush. After going round the block a couple of times, I learnt what streets to use and where to find parking. There was the typical security to deal with on entering the building and then my first queue at enquiries. This led to being sent to the 5th floor where I waited in the next queue. Finally I was instructed to go back down to the first floor and to find a specific lady. Where…? I had no idea. Once I found her office and showed her what I was coming for, I was instructed to go through a box of what must have been over 100 envelopes addressed to the likes of the executors I was working with. I learnt that these were never going to be posted because she didn’t trust the postal services. She had a point here. But you somehow needed to know to come and get them. I didn’t dwell on this point.
Well, I eventually found my envelope and left on very good terms with the lady in question, empowered with her direct contact details and the promise to help in the future. These are some of the difficult and time consuming parts of estates, things that you’ve just got to go and do. But there’s a way about these offices, a skill to be learnt of how to get what you want while building bridges for the future.