ICAEW announces higher than expected demand for probate licencing

Today’s Wills & Probate met with Peter James, Head of Regulatory Policy at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) last week.

ICAEW have seen a surge in the number of accountancy firms who have applied for accreditation since Kingston Smith became the first accountancy firm to be awarded the licence in early October 2014.

We can report that 168 firms have now applied for licences and that the latest figures show 134 have been accredited – 89 as Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) and 45 as authorised firms.

This demonstrates a sharp trend in accountancy practices moving into the legal sector and increased competition for law firms and probate providers.

The ICAEW is a chartered body that has been given the authority by the Lord Chancellor to regulate probate services — the first outside the legal profession to be able to do so. ICAEW already act as a statutory regulator for audit, insolvency and financial services.

Peter James comments: “It has nearly been a year since ICAEW has become a regulator and licensing authority for probate and ABS. It has opened up the marketplace for the consumer, who might want their accountant to handle legal services too. Members were keen to offer these services and this is reflected in the numbers that have been authorised to date. Having more providers should make the market more competitive.”

Today's Wills and Probate