The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and
Wales (ICAEW) has launched a consultation over its request to
become a regulator of probate services and Alternative Business
Structures (ABS).

A successful outcome would enable the ICAEW to
authorise individuals and firms for the reserved legal service of
probate and to license firms as ABS, following a 2007 Legal
Services Act.

The Act has stated practitioners, other than
lawyers, can apply to provide reserved legal services, also leading
to increase the number of multi-disciplinary business structures
between accountants and lawyers.

ICAEW executive director of professional
standards Vernon Soare said it hopes to authorise firms for probate
and to license ABS within 12 months.

“The decision whether to become a provider of
legal services and/or change to an ABS is for ICAEW members and
firms to consider. We have developed guidance to help firms in
making this decision,” he said.

The deadline to respond to the consultation is
open until September.