The Legal Services Board has issued a consultation document on will writing, probate and estate administration activities. It highlights problems in this sector such as poorly drafted wills and the mismanagement and misappropriation of estate assets. It proposes that these activities and related ancillary activities should become (or in the case of probate remain) reserved activities and subject to regulation. We were concerned that work carried out by tax advisers could come with the scope of the suggested definition of ancillary activities which includes, for example, 'Preparing the relevant HMRC papers (where necessary), preparing estate accounts and providing advice about the administration of the estate' and 'providing advice related to the preparation of the will (and subsequent amendments) such as advice about tax'.
Our submission puts forward the case for excluding tax on the grounds that it does not constitute the high risk activities the consultation document is seeking to address. Further, it would result in splintering the tax profession between regulated and unregulated areas. In our view regulation of the tax profession is a separate debate.
Our joint submission and the discussion draft are available in Adobe (pdf) format.
Please note that these proposals apply only to England and Wales' and not to Scotland and Northern Ireland.
07 November 2012