In 2014 the rules around provision of certain legal services changed…
The body that oversees accountancy practices, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) became a regulator and licensing authority, meaning consumers looking for probate services are now able to use appropriately qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountants as an alternative to traditional providers.
Some may argue that the market is already well catered for amongst the legal fraternity but this move can put the process of managing your final estate, back with the people that are most likely to have been involved with your personal and commercial finances for most of your life.
For instance, because it is fresh in the mind…, we have just worked through numerous tax returns for our clients, considering their investments, their varied income sources and their assets so we have a pretty clear picture of each of our clients’ estates. Whilst tools and software packages exist that enable anyone managing probate to identify the accounts, assets and investments of a deceased person, for accountants that information is typically at their fingertips and rarely more than 12 months old.
So is the move to accountants managing probate a good thing? Whilst we can see the obvious benefits we are not convinced that there will be a huge rush away from the legal profession to accountants and so we have decided to be demand led on this and not submit a full application to the ICAEW just yet.
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts though so please let us know what you think. If there is sufficient demand, we will absolutely consider it.