KCT have been keeping a keen eye on the news lately, looking out for when the first alternative business structure (ABS) able to carry out probate work would be announced by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). At the beginning of this month, it was officially revealed that Kingston Smith will be the first accountancy firm to offer such services after the news this year that probate would no longer be the sole job of solicitors, the Solicitors Journal reported.
The ICAEW become an approved regulator and licensing authority for probate and ABS last month; Kingston Smith was chosen by the institute as the first firm able to offer probate and has offices in London and the South East, with a staff base of over 400 people. The firm was founded in 1923.
The decision to allow non-legal bodies to offer probate was approved this year in a bid to diversify the marketplace and give the public more choice - at more competitive prices - when it comes to legal matters of this nature.
The executive director of the ICAEW, Vernon Soare, stated that members of the public may want "their accountant to handle legal services too"; in order to qualify, accountancy firms need to attend an ABS course and pass an assessment before receiving a licence. Soar said the institute was "pleased that Kingston Smith is the first to be awarded this licence and look forward to many more accountancy firms realising the opportunities that ABS and probate provides for their business."
Sir Michael Snyder, a senior partner of Kingston Smith, said they are thrilled to be able to offer a "truly holistic suite of probate services" to their clients.
Do you think these new powers will be to the benefit of the public?