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In this issue, read about valuable resources and key dates for this year’s Probate Diversity Survey, outcomes from last year’s probate monitoring visits and our 2022 probate financial report. We also highlight findings from the Legal Services Board (LSB), price and service transparency requirements, best practice when notifying potential creditors about deaths and updates to the CPD framework. There is also an opportunity to apply for positions on our regulatory committees.

Set up your firm’s 2023 Probate Diversity Survey

Firms will need to complete the 2023 Probate Diversity Survey as close to 31 March as possible. All firms should use the Riliance survey tool to compile their results.

Full details of what your firm needs to do, including how to set up your survey using the Riliance tool are available via our website. You can also watch the recording and slides from our recent webinar.

The survey is mandatory and results must be submitted to regulatorysupport@icaew.com by 30 April 2023.

Placing statutory advertisements

On ICAEW probate visits, we suggest that ‘best practice’ is for firms to consider publishing details of deaths in The Gazette and/or local newspapers. It is a way to notify potential creditors, beneficiaries to estates and other claimants. The Gazette has provided us with contact details and further information to support firms with deceased estates notice placement.

CPD for the future: reducing risk, enhancing trust

ICAEW’s revised CPD framework will launch later this year. Ahead of the changes, ICAEW President, Julia Penny, tells us why changes to the existing CPD Regulations are necessary, why a risk-based approach to CPD is so important and explains how the latest requirements will improve trust and drive standards forward.

ICAEW guide to dealing with vulnerable clients

Find out more about how accredited firms and authorised individuals providing legal services need to address the issue of the vulnerability or potential vulnerability of clients and ensure their legal services are accessible to all.

A disciplinary framework fit for the future

ICAEW’s disciplinary framework is being simplified and updated to make it more efficient and accessible. Ahead of the changes, Duncan Wiggetts, ICAEW’s Chief Officer for Professional Standards, explains the rationale behind the reforms and how the revamped framework better meets the needs of a modern regulator. The framework is now expected to come into effect during the second quarter of 2023.

Price and service transparency: ongoing non-compliance with regulations

Our Quality Assurance reviewers are monitoring compliance in this area and are finding firms are still not complying with the updated regulations. All ICAEW accredited probate firms should ensure that they have taken action to comply with the requirements. Be sure to also access the current Probate Regulations.

Update on HMCTS delays in processing probate applications

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) acknowledged that there is a backlog of probate applications. At the latest meeting with HMCTS, attended by members of ICAEW’s Regulatory Policy team, other legal services regulators and membership bodies, this was one of the key items under discussion.

HMCTS is working to tackle these delays. They stated that they had undertaken a significant recruitment of staff and the upskilling of existing staff. It was accepted that as a part of an upskilling process, it had been necessary to divert some more experienced staff to train and supervise new hires dealing with calls and straightforward applications.

To support the process, HMCTS has extended its timeline for probate to 16 weeks but stressed that this was an interim measure. Applicants are being asked not to chase applications unless there were genuine special circumstances, as answering these queries takes up resources. HMCTS said that they were clearing the backlog and once staff were fully trained, they expected to see the timeline reduce significantly.

ICAEW recognises this has been a widespread issue for our probate practitioners.

“We are conscious that ICAEW accredited practitioners have been experiencing these delays, and we are staying abreast of developments by remaining engaged in probate and passing on firms’ concerns at these meetings.”

The Regulatory Policy team will continue to support its probate firms by staying current on this matter.

Useful resources include:

ICAEW highly rated in recent LSB assessment

The assessment identified several common themes that need to be addressed by all regulators. Read more about the findings from the Legal Services Board (LSB) and how ICAEW performed well in their assessment.

Serve on our regulatory and disciplinary committees

Find out more about the expertise we are looking for, remuneration rates for accountant and lay members and how to express your interest.

ICAEW probate register

The register identifies ICAEW firms that are accredited to carry out probate and estate administration services.

2022 probate monitoring results – now available

We carried out 66 monitoring review visits with probate firms throughout 2022. Open the infographic for further results.

2022 probate financial report infographic – now available

Read the results for 2022 in ICAEW’s Probate Financial Report infographic.

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