ICAEW gains probate and ABS powers

REGULATION of probate services and licensing alternative business structures (ABSs) can now be undertaken by the ICAEW, after agreement from the Legal Services Board.

The ability for member firms to be able to offer wider probate services has long been sought by the institute, while ABS licensing allows for accountants and solicitors to joint-own firms.

ABSs were introduced under the Legal Services Act 2007, as part of opening up the legal services market. ABSs, also known as multi-disciplinary practices, can have some external ownership and investment, and also a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers working together in client-facing roles.

ICAEW executive director Vernon Soare (pictured) described the move as an “important step” by the board to open up legal services.

“In making this recommendation, the Legal Services Board has recognised that consumers can receive legal services from appropriately regulated ICAEW chartered accountants that are of equal quality to traditional providers.”

The institute will work with firms interested in providing probate service and becoming ABSs, to head towards their applications being approved next spring.

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