The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) said earlier last year that it had applied to become a regulator of probate services and Alternative Business Structures (ABSs), and that a minimum of 100 accountancy firms are anticipated to seek ABS status this year.
According to the ICAEW, accountants could add probate services to their portfolios and start offering such services as soon as next autumn, depending on the timeframe for the Legal Services Board's decision. The professional accountancy body, which has over 138,000 members across the globe, also aims to take charge of Will writing and estate administration regulation should they become reserved legal activities.
Following consultation, the ICAEW has said it will seek to give accountancy providers the power to offer such services either as authorised firms or licensed bodies. According to research carried out by the ICAEW in support of its application, about 250 entities may be willing to add reserved probate services to their offerings, including 100 larger firms who would look to gain ABS status, and 150 sole practitioners that would seek to become authorised firms.
The ICAEW becoming a probate and ABS regulator will give accountancy firms the opportunity to enter the legal services market, which will ensure greater diversity in the sector, the institute claims.