Clerk of the Court

A missionary had passed away and I, as the mission rep in the country, had been appointed executor of her estate. The estate included her bank account in New York into which the mission deposited her monthly support.

After following all the legal steps to release her funds, a hold-up was instituted by the New York State Surrogate Court. Needed was a document signed by the local “Clerk of the Court”. My lawyer in Tanzania was frustrated because, no matter what he did or submitted, it was refused by the New York court. The reason – the Tanzania court system had no office called “Clerk of the Court”. Such an official was non-existent!

In desperation I visited the sitting local court magistrate. I explained the situation in detail and offered my suggestion of a way out. I suggested I go to get a rubber stamp made saying “Clerk of the Court”. I would then come back to his office, he would affix the stamp to the papers and select a person in his office to sign “on the dotted line”. Then, in his presence, I would destroy the rubber stamp. He agreed.

A week later I presented myself again before him. I had the rubber stamp. He stamped the documents required by New York State then looked around for someone to sign. There was no one else in his office.

Just then, the office “sweeper” (janitor) came in. The magistrate called him over and directed him where to sign. He signed – I destroyed the stamp – New York Surrogates Court accepted the documents – bank account funds were released – estate matters closed.

What efficiency – – or was it duplicity? !!!!