Administration of Justice (AOJ)
The Master is an officer appointed under section 4 of the Administration of Estates Act, CAP 31:01 for purposes of Administering Estates of deceased persons. Administration of an estate involves the gathering of the property of the estate and distributing it to the rightful beneficiaries. The Master is also responsible for Liquidation of Companies and sequestration of insolvent Estates.
What are the functions of the Master?
The functions of the Master are defined in the following statutes;
- Administration of Estates Act, CAP 31:01
- Administers estates of deceased persons - managing the property of the person who passed away
- Administers the Guardian Fund - management of benefits of minor beneficiaries or persons whose whereabouts are unknown.
- Chairs next of kin meetings. These are meetings of close relatives to nominate an executor dative and to deal with the estate of the person who passed away without a will.
- Approves liquidations and distribution accounts of the remaining properties of the estate.
- Companies Act, CAP 42:01
- Supervises the winding up of Companies placed under liquidation
- Appoints liquidators
- Appoints Judicial Managers
- Presides over creditors meetings
- Approves liquidation and distribution accounts.
- Insolvency Act
- Supervises sequestration of insolvent persons
- Appoints Trustees to estates
The Guardian Fund
The Guardian Fund which is administered under the Administration of Estate Act (CAP 31-01) is a Fund in which money belonging to people whose whereabouts are unknown, minor beneficiaries (under 21 years) and people who are not capable of controlling their own affairs are deposited and administered. The fund is administered by the Accountant General subject to directions that may be given by the Master. The Fund is opened as soon as money is received by the Master. The money could be from a Bank, Insurance Company or from any institution or organization within the Country which finds itself with unclaimed moneys amounting to P1 and upwards and the moneys have remained unclaimed for a period of 5 years or more by the rightful owner.
When paying the money into the Guardian Fund, the person transmitting it must furnish the Master with the particulars of the beneficiaries if known including their address or last known address. For full details on Guardian Fund, click on the link below.
Administration of Estates of Deceased Persons
Estates fall into two categories - those of deceased persons who die intestate (without a will) and those who die testate (with a will). The Master's Office has powers to administer all types of estates reported to its office. For full details on the processes followed in each of these scenarios click on the link below.
Sheriffs and Deputy Sheriffs
The Registrar is responsible for enforcing court processes through his office as Sheriff for Botswana. He is empowered to appoint Deputy Sheriffs to assist him with the responsibilities of that office. Deputy Sheriffs must therefore account to him for the performance of their work.