Top-20 firm Kingston Smith has become the first accountancy firm to be licensed as an alternative business structure (ABS) by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to carry out probate work.
The ICAEW expects around 250 accountancy firms to become an ABS for this purpose, while individual accountants can also authorised to conduct reserved probate work.
Kingston Smith has offices in London and the South East with over 400 staff. Senior partner Sir Michael Snyder said: “We are delighted to be the first ICAEW accountancy firm to be licensed to offer a truly holistic suite of probate services to our clients.
“Taking away the need for outside parties to be involved in providing individuals with this sensitive, personalised service is something we know our clients will greatly value.
Vernon Soare, ICAEW executive director, said its role as a ABS licensing authority “will open up the marketplace for the consumer, who might want their accountant to handle legal services too. We also knew that members were keen to offer these services and having more providers should make the market more competitive”.
Chris Kenny, chief executive of the Legal Services Board added: “This is a welcome development and is a very important step on the road to more consumer choice, innovation and competition in the provision of legal services. I hope that this is the first of many probate licences issued as ICAEW commences its role as a regulator in the legal services sector.”