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Probate News, issue 15

This update contains new webinar resources to help your firm carry out its 2021 diversity survey and transparency updates. As well as advice on clients money accounts and updates from HMCTS.

Probate transparency reminder

A reminder that your firm is required to review your website and communications material by 31 March 2021, ahead of our final website assessment in April.

If the IRB does not see a significant improvement in firms’ compliance with the current transparency measures, it will have no alternative but to make changes to the Probate Regulations to introduce compulsory regulation.

Probate transparency webinar

To help you review your communications, our 2021 probate transparency webinar is now available. The webinar discusses the benefits of greater transparency and highlights the areas where there is room for improvement.

A short case study video has also been produced. The video features a discussion with an ICAEW probate accredited firm on the benefits of greater transparency.

Probate diversity

The deadline for collecting your firm’s 2021 probate diversity data is 31 March 2021. If you haven’t watched our 2021 webinar to help you understand the survey process and resources available to you, the recording is available.

Probate diversity next steps

  • Watch the 2021 probate diversity webinar.
  • Create your firm’s survey via Riliance
  • Email the survey link to your staff to begin collecting your firm’s data.
  • Sole practitioners with no staff should complete their results via this excel template. The ‘prefer not to say’ option is available for all questions, if there are answers you would prefer not to share with ICAEW.
  • Download your firm’s Riliance report or send the excel template to regulatorysupport@icaew.com by 30 April, including a short interpretation of the results.
  • Publish your firm’s results on your website or communication material.

Naming of client bank accounts

It has come to our attention that some firms are still having problems with opening clients’ money accounts with Barclays bank. We have been advised to remind firms to ensure the word ‘client’ is included in the bank account name for probate client accounts. We are also following up with Barclays directly on this issue. Clarification was provided in probate news, issue 13 if firms need to direct their bank to the appropriate guidance.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service update

We regularly meet with HMCTS to discuss probate issues. At the last meeting:

1. HMCTS confirmed new MyHMCTS guidance would be issued. This has now been published.

If you have any problems with it, please contact us and we will relay your feedback to HMCTS.

2. To avoid unnecessary ‘stops’ to applications, HMCTS advised probate practitioners to allow 20 working days from the date the IHT400 is sent to HMRC, before applying for the grant. This will allow HMRC sufficient time to process the IHT400 and should mean that your IHT421 will be with HMCTS and can be matched more quickly to your probate application.

Further support

If you have any questions relating to any of these articles, please contact our technical advisory services team, +44 (0)1908 248 250.