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Probate qualification criteria

Guidance for ICAEW members and non-members who wish to apply to become authorised to undertake probate work.

Eligibility for ICAEW members

ICAEW members and members of an accountancy body (as defined in Probate Regulation 1.6) who wish to apply to become authorised individuals (including heads of legal practice) need to be appropriately qualified. You will need to:

Complete this form to apply under Probate Regulation 4.1a
Application to appoint: authorised individual; Head of Legal Practice; or Head of Finance and Administration.

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)
You may be exempt from attending the Mercia course. Members exempt from passing the Mercia course will need to apply under Probate Regulation 4.1c.

Eligibility for non ICAEW members

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 another  approved regulator that entitles you to undertake probate work (for example, a solicitor) you can apply to be appointed as an authorised individual under Probate Regulation 4.1b. You will need to provide us with evidence of your qualification.

Complete this form to apply under Probate Regulation 4.1b
Application to appoint: authorised individual; Head of Legal Practice; or Head of Finance and Administration.

Eligibility for non ICAEW members (otherwise qualified)

If you are not eligible to apply to become an authorised individual under Probate Regulations 4.1a or 4.1b, you can apply under Probate Regulation 4.1c. As part of your application, you will need to provide us with evidence that you have attended a course and passed an assessment, provided by a recognised professional qualification body. The course and assessment will need to have covered at least the qualification criteria.

Evidence of qualifications for applications under Probate Regulation 4.1c

To provide sufficient evidence, you must submit the following with your application form;

  • a copy of the syllabus/learning outcomes that covered the relevant exam(s) that you passed;
  • a document mapping the syllabus/learning outcomes to the qualification criteria to show where in the syllabus/learning outcomes these criteria were covered*; and
  • proof of your relevant qualification. For example, a copy of certificate/certificates.
  • If you apply for an exemption for a STEP qualification you must provide evidence of your current STEP membership.

*If you cannot supply evidence that the course covered the criteria: Information relating to The Legal Services Act 2007 and how it applies to probate work (1.1) and how to deal appropriately with vulnerable clients (2.8) please read the following information and confirm you have done so on your application form.

You must be able to provide evidence mapping the syllabus/learning outcomes for all the other qualification criteria.

Evidence requirements for current STEP members

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 or the document mapping the syllabus to the qualification criteria.

You must provide

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

Complete this form to apply under Probate Regulation 4.1c
Application to appoint: authorised individual; Head of Legal Practice; or Head of Finance and Administration.

Applicants who are unable to satisfy the qualification criteria

If you are unable to provide evidence that your qualification covers all the qualification criteria for Probate Regulation 4.1c, you must attend the Mercia UK Certificate in Probate and Estate Administration and pass the assessment. Once you have attended this course and passed the assessment, you can apply under Probate Regulation 4.1c. You will need to provide evidence with your application of your attendance on the course and of passing the assessment.

Complete this form to apply under Probate Regulation 4.1c
Application to appoint: authorised individual; Head of Legal Practice; or Head of Finance and Administration.