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Qualification criteria

Guidance for ICAEW members and non-members.

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1. Eligibility for ICAEW members

Applicants who wish to apply to become authorised individuals (including Heads of Legal Practice) need to be appropriately qualified. ICAEW Chartered Accountants need to attend a short course and pass an assessment.

To enrol on this course and for the assessment please visit SWAT UK Certificate in Probate and Estate Administration. Members who have attended this course and passed this assessment will need to apply under Probate Regulation 4.1a.

ICAEW members who hold the STEP Diploma for Accountants and Tax Practitioners (Trusts and Estates) or the STEP Diploma in Trusts and Estates (England & Wales) may be exempt from attending this course. Details of this exemption can be found in section 3 below. Members exempt from attending the course and passing the assessment will need to apply under Probate Regulation 4.1c.

Applications

Applications under Probate Regulation 4.1a can be made by completing application form – Application to appoint: authorised individual; Head of Legal Practice; or Head of Finance and Administration.

2. Eligibility for non ICAEW members with qualifications awarded by other approved regulators

If you are not an ICAEW member, but you hold a qualification issued or recognised by an approved regulator (other than ICAEW) that entitles you to undertake probate work (for example, a solicitor) you may apply to be appointed an authorised individual under Probate Regulation 4.1b by providing ICAEW with evidence of being awarded such a qualification.

Applications

Applications under Probate Regulation 4.1b can be made by completing application form – Application to appoint: authorised individual; Head of Legal Practice; or Head of Finance and Administration.

3. Eligibility for non ICAEW members (otherwise qualified)

If you are not eligible to apply to be appointed as an authorised individual under Probate Regulations 4.1a or 4.1b, you will need to apply under regulation 4.1c.

To apply under Probate Regulation 4.1c you need to provide ICAEW with evidence of your attendance at a course and passing of an assessment provided by a recognised professional qualification body which covered at least the qualification criteria for applications under Probate Regulation 4.1c set out in qualification criteria below.

1. Evidence

1.1.

In order to provide sufficient evidence, you must submit the following with your application form;

a) A copy of the syllabus/learning outcomes that covered the relevant exam(s) that you passed;
b) A document mapping the syllabus/learning outcomes to the criteria set out in the qualification criteria below to show where in the syllabus/learning outcomes these criteria have been covered; and 
c) Proof of your relevant qualification. For example, a copy of certificate/certificates.
d) If you are applying for an exemption for a STEP qualification (outlined in paragraph 1.3 below), you must provide evidence of your current STEP membership.

1.2.

If you can provide evidence of having covered all the qualification criteria set out in the qualification criteria  below except the following: The Legal Services Act 2007 and how it applies to probate work (1.1) and how to deal appropriately with vulnerable clients (2.8). You can apply to be appointed as an authorised individual if you provide the evidence listed above as part of your application. In addition you need to confirm on the application form that you have read and understood the information relating to these two criteria.

1.3.

If you are a current member of STEP and hold either:

  • the STEP Diploma for Accountants and Tax Practitioners (Trusts and Estates) by passing exams set under the qualification’s syllabuses of 2010 onwards; or
  • the STEP Diploma in Trusts and Estates (England and Wales) by passing exams set under the qualification’s syllabuses of 2002 onwards

You will not need to supply a copy of the syllabus that covered your STEP examination(s) (referred to in paragraph 1.1a above) nor the document mapping the syllabus to the qualification criteria set out in the qualification criteria below (referred to in paragraph 1.1b above). 

You must provide proof of your qualification, for example, a copy certificate/certificates and confirm on the application form that you have read and understood the information that relates to the Legal Services Act 2007 and how it applies to probate work and how to deal appropriately with vulnerable clients (see paragraph 1.2 above).

If you have passed exams set under syllabuses dated earlier than the dates stipulated above, you must comply fully with the evidence requirements set out in paragraph 1.1 above.

2. Inability to satisfy qualifications criteria

2.1.

If you are unable to provide evidence that your qualification covers all the qualification criteria set out in the qualification criteria below except for criteria 1.1 and 2.8 you must attend the SWAT UK Certificate in Probate and Estate Administration and pass the assessment. Then you must complete the application form below and provide evidence with your application form of your attendance on the course and of passing the assessment.

3. Applications

3.1.

Applications under Probate Regulation 4.1c can be made by completing application form – Application to appoint: authorised individual; Head of Legal Practice; or Head of Finance and Administration.

Qualification criteria for applications under Probate Regulation 4.1c

1. A general overview of:

1.1. The Legal Services Act 2007 and how it applies to probate work
1.2. The law of property, equity and trusts
1.3. Relevant  taxation
1.4. Wills and intestacy
1.5. The validity, format and content of wills
1.6. Administration of Estates

2. Knowledge and understanding of:

2.1. The types of personal representative, their appointment and options
2.2. The duties and responsibilities of a personal representative
2.3. The types of grant of representation and when one is needed
2.4. Who can apply for a grant of probate and letters of administration
2.5. The procedure and preparation of papers for applying for a grant
2.6. When a matter is or could potentially be contentious and what advice needs to be given and or action taken
2.7. Clients, letters of engagement and complaints procedures
2.8. How to deal appropriately with vulnerable clients
2.9. What makes a will valid and why it may fail
2.10. Rectification of defects in a will
2.11. Affidavit evidence
2.12. Caveats and citations
2.13. Revocation and alteration of wills
2.14. How defects in a will can be rectified
2.15. Types of Legacies and why these can fail
2.16. The intestacy rules and trust provisions
2.17. Guardianship issues
2.18.
Taxation:

(i) Income tax liability of the deceased up to the date of death
(ii) An overview of the reporting for inheritance tax purposes and the principles relating to the charge to tax – on death; on immediately chargeable lifetime transfers; on gifts with the reservation of benefit
(iii) IHT reliefs and exemptions
(iv) Calculation of IHT
(v) Payment of IHT
(vi) Penalties
2.19. Identification of assets and liabilities and valuation of the estate
2.20. Excepted estates
2.21. Completion of IHT forms
2.22. Estates requiring an account
2.23. Administering the estate

(i) Administrative duties and powers of personal representatives
(ii) Registering the grant and collecting in the assets
(iii) Receiving cash and paying debts
(iv) Insolvent estates
(v) Identifying beneficiaries
(vi) Payment of legacies
(vii) Income and interest
(viii) Dealing with estate income during the period of administration
(ix) Discharges
(x) Variations and disclaimers
(xi) Tax issues
(xii) Requirements of a deed of variation
(xiii) Reporting requirements
2.24. Finalising the estate and preparation of accounts