Changes to legacy notification service: HMCTS seeks to reassure charities

Following HMCTS’s announcement in January of its plans to set up a new system to notify charities of legacies left to them in wills, and to end its current arrangements with Smee & Ford, charities have been waiting to hear about the new arrangements to be put in place from the end of this month.

At the end of May, the CEO of HMCTS, Susan Acland-Hood, wrote to the working group of charity bodies to seek to reassure them about the provision of continuity of service in relation to legacy notifications, when the current service by Smee & Ford comes to an end.

She confirmed that “good progress” has been made on securing an interim arrangement and she is confident that such an arrangement will be in place at the end of July when the current service ceases.

The minutes of the meeting of the steering group on 18 June have now been published but provide no further substantive information – although they do show an invite was issued to the sector bodies to nominate charity representatives to attend a joint Ministry of Justice / HMCTS workshop this month to help define more clearly the charity sector’s needs and requirements for a legacy notification service.

At the meeting on 18 June, HMCTS also restated its confidence that an arrangement would be in place to provide continuity of service to charities, and confirmed that such arrangement would be announced to the sector as soon as possible.

Minutes of a further proposed meeting in June at which another update was to be given by HMCTS are not yet available.

However, as the sector enters July and approaches the termination of the Smee & Ford arrangement at the end of the month, it can only be hoped that an announcement from HMCTS in relation to its replacement arrangement for the legacy notification service is forthcoming soon…

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