HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has promised clarification on its plans regarding changes to the legacy notification service.

The agency announced in January that it would be ending its association with private company Smee & Ford (S&F), which has for many years been providing a paid-for service to participating charities alerting them when they have been left money in a will.

HMCTS said the decision was made following an assessment of its legal position and that it intended to continue to work with S&F over the course of a six-month notice period.

In an open letter released to charities last week, Susan Acland-Hood, HMCTS chief executive, said: “We have worked hard to listen to and understand the views of the sector on this critical issue.”

She added that she was “confident” an interim solution would be put in place to deliver continuity of service, prior to a long-term solution being implemented. She also hoped to provide an update at a meeting with charities on 18 June.

Commenting on the developments, Fraser and Fraser partner Neil Fraser said: “We’re pleased that HMCTS appears to have grasped the importance to charities of continuity in the legacy notification service and the role the service plays both in preventing fraud and raising awareness among executors.”

“It is, however, concerning that no details have been released on a service that will need to start in around one month’s time.”

HMCTS states that more than 122,000 charitable bequests were included in wills in 2017 alone, with legacy donations raising 2.96 billion for good causes that year.