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New service for identifying charitable bequests

A 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 HMCTS’ current arrangement with Smee & Ford, a private company, which has provided a paid-for notification service to participating charities for several years. Whilst this arrangement with Smee & Ford was established in good faith, HMCTS has since come to the conclusion that it is not consistent with the department’s legal duties.

HMCTS will be working closely with Smee & Ford in order to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible arising out of these changes over the six months’ notice period, and their views will be sought, based on their knowledge of the current service, about options for a new arrangement.

HMCTS stressed that the decision to end the current arrangement is no reflection on the service provided by Smee & Ford but comes as a result of an assessment of the legal position.

Representatives of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, the National Council of Voluntary Organisations, the Institute of Fundraising and the Institute of Legacy Management have been invited to join a working group bringing 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.

Nikki Spencer
  • Senior Solicitor

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