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Licensed probate practitioners

Licensed probate practitioners are qualified professional probate lawyers who specialise in the legal aspects surrounding inheritance and the administration of wills and estates in England and Wales.

What do they do?

When a person dies, someone has to deal with their affairs. Probate practitioners are experts in the legal documentation and processes for dealing with the affairs of a deceased person (ie, estate) and liaise with the deceased’s representatives (ie, executors or administrators) to administer the estate in accordance with their will or under the intestacy provisions (ie, when the deceased hasn’t left a will). Licensed probate practitioners are also commissioners for oaths, which means that they have legal authority to administer and witness official documents (eg, affidavits to swear that a statement is the truth). They can sign your passport photo as well!

Where do they work?

Licensed probate practitioners work in a variety of legal teams and settings recognised in the private client industry, including licensed conveyancing or solicitors’ practices. They may also work as sole practitioners. They deal with a range of other professional persons, including accountancy, banking, tax, trust and charitable professionals in the course of administering an estate.

Council for Licensed Conveyancers

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) is the regulatory body for licensed conveyancers and probate practitioners. The awarding body is the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Becoming a licensed probate practitioner

Many trainee probate practitioners value the fact that they can study for their qualification while earning a living and taking advantage of the flexible study methods available. It’s possible to choose a distance learning programme or classroom-based programme where offered by an approved provider.

Entry requirements

Level 4 Diploma Probate Law & Practice

Entry is at the discretion of the centre. Candidates don’t need to have formal relevant qualifications to enter this regulated qualification. Good communication skills, both oral and written, are required. Current experience of working within a legal practice setting would be advantageous but isn’t mandatory.

Level 6 Diploma Probate Law & Practice

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set to become a licensed probate practitioner – for example, probate legal technicians. Entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, it’s a prerequisite that candidates hold one of the following:

  • a regulated qualification, such as the Level 4 Diploma Probate Law and Practice;
  • a law degree;
  • a postgraduate qualification (eg, Graduate Diploma in Law);
  • CILEX qualification level 6; or
  • relevant legal practice course (at diploma level).

To find out more, you can contact an approved training provider or the CLC’s trainee lawyer team.