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PKF Cooper Parry gains probate licence

ANOTHER senior practice has expanded into once off-territory legal services.

PKF Cooper Parry has launched a probate services team, having been granted an alternative business structure (ABS) licence.

The Legal Services Act 2007 opened up the provision of certain services beyond lawyers, and made it easier for multi-disciplinary practices to operate. However concerns among accountants about treading on the toes of the legal profession, with which it works closely, and the slow process behind obtaining a licence has seen limited traction in the profession so far.

Advisers have offered limited advice around probate – the organising of a deceased person’s affairs – but it is viewed as an attractive area for practitioners to expand into. Recent ABS licences have been issued to Kingston Smith and EY.

“We have a significant amount of experience in this area, providing our clients with a range of personal financial assistance,” said Sarah Axe, private client tax partner at PKF Cooper Parry. “Our wealth, tax and restructuring teams are already undertaking much of these services, so it is the logical next step for the business.

“This means, should probate be needed, the process will be quicker and simpler for the family which will help ease their burden.”

There are a range of different structures and avenues for licensing that have been opened up under the act, including the firm itself becoming an ABS or setting up a separate, regulated business. Licences are issued by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, or through the ICAEW.

PKF Cooper Parry sits within the PKF UKI network, which posted combined revenues of £81.7m in 2014/15, according to the Accountancy Age Top 50+50 2015 survey, sponsored by Wolters Kluwer.

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