1. In September 2012, the Legal Services Board (LSB) issued its latest consultation concerning its intention to extend the list of reserved legal activities – activities that would come within its oversight responsibilities. Among other services, the consultation considered 'the administration of an estate of a deceased person and legal activities provided ancillary to the administration of an estate'. It included a provisional report that would recommend to the Lord Chancellor that estate administration and ancillary services should be reserved, although ancillary services provided separately from the core activity of estate administration would be outside the scope of reservation.
2. Some accountancy firms provide core estate administration services, for example when a member of the firm acts as executor of a deceased person's estate, and the firm charges a fee for the service. In order to respond effectively to the LSB's consultation, ACCA sought to establish the extent to which the LSB's proposals might impact the public interest. Therefore, in October 2012, ACCA conducted research to establish how many of its members in practice in England and Wales had recently performed core estate administration services. Members were asked the following question:
In the past five years, have you acted as an executor of a deceased person's estate with your firm charging for your services?
3. 871 responses were received, and almost one in ten (9.3%) said that they had acted as executor for a client in recent years. If this result is extrapolated to relate to all ACCA members in practice in England and Wales, we might conservatively estimate that 1,600 members and their clients would be affected by the Board's proposals.