Alternative business structures make up 69 of these and other firms 41 of a total of 110. Peter James, head of regulatory policy at the ICAEW, told Legal Futures he expected the total number of firms to hit 200 by the end of the year.
He said, most of the applications came from small accountancy firms and sole practices, particularly the non-ABS firms where all the principals are authorised to carry out probate work.
“ABSs have the capability to bring in solicitors as partners. One or two of the bigger firms are doing this, but the smaller firms are training their own people to do the work.”
Mr James said around a quarter of the ICAEW’s 10,000 member firms carried out estate administration.
“If you get involved in probate work, it can add quality and capability to your existing practice and fill in some of the gaps.
“A number of firms have said it’s not worth their while to apply and they’re happy to use solicitors because of mutual referral arrangements, although once lawyers retire these arrangements may change.”
Read the full Legal Futures article here