Legacy notification service for charities – interim arrangements announced by HMCTS

HMCTS has announced the interim arrangements for legacy notifications to charities put in place from the end of this month, confirming that Smee & Ford will continue to provide legacy notifications to charities that use the service for at least the next twelve months.

The service will be changing slightly, with Smee & Ford automatically providing a copy of the Will containing the legacy to charity in relation to which a charity is being notified.  An advantage to charities of this change should be that a charity receiving a notification will not then need to obtain a copy of the Will itself, removing the need for certain administrative tasks on the part of the charity.

As a result of the change, however, the cost to charities of Smee & Ford’s service will be increasing.

Smee & Ford will incur a cost for obtaining a copy of the Will for each legacy notification, and, although the cost of obtaining a copy of a Will will decrease for anyone applying for a copy Will as a result of the decision of the Lord Chancellor significantly to reduce probate copy fees with effect from 22 July 2019, the change to the service provided will therefore have the effect of increasing Smee & Ford's fees.

Smee & Ford has said it will be contacting its customers to inform them of the changes to fees, and timescales for implementation of this change.

In the meantime, now that interim arrangements are in place, HMCTS has confirmed that it will continue its work with the sector to determine the longer term arrangements required for legacy notifications.

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