The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has today become the first organisation outwith the legal sector to gain the power to regulate probate and license alternative business structures. The accountancy profession’s most prestigious body, with over 142,000 members, was granted the new powers under a statutory designation order approved by parliament. 

This means that ICAEW chartered accountants and ABSs licensed by the institute will be able to provide probate services directly to consumers. Some 250 accounting firms have already expressed interest.

Vernon Soare, ICAEW executive director, said: ’In approving the statutory order, parliament has confirmed the Lord Chancellor’s ground breaking decision to endorse ICAEW’s application as the first non-legal body able to regulate probate services and license alternative business structures. It is practical evidence of the role that the Legal Services Board is playing in transforming the provision of legal services and giving more choice to the consumer. Consumers looking for probate services will now be able to use appropriately qualified ICAEW Chartered Accountants and ICAEW licensed ABS as an alternative to traditional providers.

’Over 250 firms have already expressed interest in accreditation and we believe this number will grow significantly once the opportunities afforded by probate and the use of ABSs are more fully understood. ICAEW plans to issue the first licences later in September.’tab