Cessation of probate activities
On this page you will find guidance on the arrangements and continuing obligations under the Global Practising Regulations following the cessation of probate activities
All individuals and firms previously authorised for probate by ACCA will be removed from ACCA’s register of probate practitioners. Our searchable public directories of members and firms will also be updated to show these individuals and firms are no longer authorised by ACCA for probate.
From 1 January 2022, individuals and firms ceasing to carry out probate activities may continue to undertake non-reserved legal activities (such as estate administration). However, they must not carry out the reserved legal activity of probate without the appropriate authorisation or hold themselves out to members of the public as offering probate services.
In particular, ACCA members and firms must meet the following requirements:
- The authorisation statement “Authorised to undertake non-contentious probate activities by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants” must be removed from business stationery and the firm’s website.
- Any information relating to probate services must be removed from the firm’s website.
- Clients must be informed in writing that the firm is no longer authorised to undertake non-contentious probate activities and the firm’s letters of engagement must be updated.
- Members and firms are reminded of the need to retain run-off professional indemnity insurance cover now that they have ceased to undertake probate activities. This cover must be held for the next six years and must be held on the same terms as in the final year of ACCA probate authorisation.
Any ACCA member who continues to carry out probate activities (or holds themselves out as being able to carry out), unregulated, after 31 December 2021 will be in breach of ACCA’s Bye-laws, regulations and Code of Ethics and Conduct (or for a non-ACCA member, the regulations of your professional accountancy body) and will be subject to regulatory and disciplinary enforcement action for undertaking probate activities (or holding themselves out as being able to undertake) without holding the necessary authority.
The practice of a reserved legal activity, unregulated, may also constitute criminal offences under sections 14-17 of the Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) and therefore you may also be subject to criminal prosecution by law enforcement agencies and the relevant prosecuting authority, resulting in imprisonment or a fine. As part of the assessment of evidence in each case, ACCA would consider whether a private prosecution under section 14 of the Act would be an appropriate and proportionate course of action to take.