New service for charitable bequests to be established

funeral lilliesA new system alerting charities to when they have been left money in wills is to be established by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), following a decision to end its current arrangement.

Charity representatives are being invited to help establish a new service that delivers a sustainable and efficient arrangement for the sector.

The move follows a decision to end the current arrangement between HMCTS and Smee & Ford, a private company, which has provided a paid-for notification service to participating charities for several years. While this was established in good faith, HMCTS has since found that it is not consistent with the department’s legal duties.

HMCTS chief executive, Susan Acland-Hood, said:

"I recognise the value to charities of receiving early notification of bequests left in wills and we are committed to working alongside the sector to establish a new, sustainable arrangement that works for everyone.

"Our decision to end our current arrangement with Smee & Ford is no reflection on the service provided by them but comes as a result of an assessment of our legal position. We will continue to work closely with the company to seek to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible arising out of these changes over the next period."

A working group will be established to bring together views of the sector with the aim of creating a new and sustainable arrangement that will continue to work for all those using the current service.

An open letter, sent by Susan Acland-Hood to all affected charities, can be found here [PDF]

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See also 

Leaving a legacy: what will you do with your assets?