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New regulations to the Trust Property Control Act that were gazetted on 31 March 2023 require Trusts to keep up-to-date records with the Master’s Office of all beneficial owners, i.e. trustees, beneficiaries and founders of the Trust, by 1 April, or face strict penalties and/or fines.  But with inadequate time to comply what does this mean for trustees and trust service providers?

The information required by the Master’s Office is not a new requirement however, it must be submitted to the Master’s Office in a specific format by 1 April, and needs to be consistently updated whenever there is a change in the personal details of the beneficial owners.

Historically there was no formal legislative definition of the beneficial ownership of trusts or similar legal arrangements in South African law, until revised regulations were applied to the amended Trust Property Control Act as was provided in terms of the Commencing of Certain Provisions of the General Laws (Anti-money Laundering and Combating Terrorism Financing) Amendment Act, of 2022.

Government could not commit to an effective date on 29 December 2022, when the effective date of most of the amendments to Trust Law (applicable to trustees) was gazetted and as such most of the provisions of the Trust Property Control Act now being made effective, deal with the capability of the Master’s Office to maintain electronic registers and ultimately improve upon the accuracy and timeliness of information being provided.

Only a trustee or a person who has a power of attorney to act on behalf of the trustee(s) is allowed to capture the information on the Master’s website.  Certified copies of all the beneficial owners of the Trust must be obtained and kept on record, so that the authenticity of the information and documentation being submitted can be verified.

In the event that the information supplied is incorrect the blame and subsequent penalties are placed entirely on all trustees, along with the ‘declarer’.  These fines are levied not against the Trust administration company, but the Board of Trustees themselves.  This means that if you do not comply with up-to-date information for beneficial owners it can financially impact the Trust.

View direct link to Government Gazette here:

Regs-TPCA-48351-31-3-JustConsDevelopment.pdf (

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