Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners
Care plans are an important consideration when you (or a loved one) start to lose capacity. There are many ways of funding care and it is important to know what options are available to you and how they can be accessed.
Kelly is a TEP, a qualified Trust and Estate Practitioner and belongs to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. We thought we ought to let you know what that means, so where better to go that the STEP website!
STEP is a global professional body, comprising lawyers, accountants, financial advisors and other practitioners that help families plan for their futures. We set standards, train and educate our members, and ensure standards are upheld.
Full STEP members, known as TEPs (Trust and Estate Practitioners), are experts in inheritance and succession planning. You can search our Directory to find a member near you, or to check whether your advisor is a STEP member.
What do STEP members do?
As specialists in inheritance and succession planning, STEP members draft wills and trusts, administer estates, act as trustees and advise families on how best to structure their finances to ensure compliance and preserve their assets for future generations. Some examples of what STEP members may advise on are:
• providing for someone following their partner’s death, while protecting the interests of their children;
• ensuring elderly or vulnerable relatives are cared for and supported;
• helping families with interests spread across the world to be compliant with the laws and tax rules of different countries;
• ensuring that a family business will pass safely from one generation to another;
• helping clients to support charitable causes in an effective way.
Why use a TEP?
Choosing a professional to help you to deal with such important and often sensitive issues can be difficult. Many aspects of planning are non-regulated, meaning anyone can write a will, for example, regardless of training or expertise. With a TEP, you’re in safe hands.
Expertise: TEPs are recognised experts in their field, with proven qualifications and experience. By joining STEP and maintaining their membership they have also shown significant commitment to their continued professional development in this specialist area.
Integrity: TEPs are subject to an extensive Code of Professional Conduct, requiring them to act with integrity and in a manner that inspires the confidence, respect and trust of their clients and of the wider community. In England and Wales, STEP members who draft wills are also bound by STEP's Will Code. These professional standards provide you with a clear understanding of what to expect from a TEP. If you think one of our members is not acting in accordance with these standards, you can make a complaint under our Disciplinary Process.
Knowledge: TEPs are required to maintain and develop the knowledge and skills relevant to their role as a condition of their continued membership. This means TEPs will always be up to date with the latest legal, technical and regulatory developments that may affect you and your situation.
Connections: TEPs have access to a global network of 20,000 advisors and professionals, enabling them to share knowledge and expertise across professional and geographic boundaries and to offer a joined-up service that can really add value to you as a client.
For more information about STEP look at their website www.step.org
Each Will is unique but here are some examples of what yours might include:
Name of your executor (who will manage the Will)
Any Legal Guardians for your children
Your funeral wishes/arrangements
Personal assets (e.g. jewellery, cars, pictures)
Financial assets (money in the bank accounts, any property you own)
Name your beneficiaries (who you are leaving your assets to)
Why do I need a Will?
You decide when you make a Will who you leave your assets to. As soon as you begin to save, purchase your first home, have your first child or inherit money a Will becomes essential.
Without a Will you have no say in how your estate will be dealt with and instead, your assets will be divided according to the law. Your family may not end up with all that you wish or their future may be complicated by assets going elsewhere.
As long as you are able to give instructions and have capacity to make a Will you can. You decide who will be your executor, who will be the guardian of your young children, who you leave your personal items to and all of your other assets.
Do I need a lawyer to write my Will?
It is not essential for a lawyer to write your Will. However, the value that a lawyer brings to making a Will is the advice they provide in relation to taxation, care planning, conflict of interest and practicalities.
They are also familiar with the terminology that is used to interpret Wills by the Courts so can add valuable insight into what could be the difference between a valid Will or an invalid Will.
Where does my Will live?
We hold on to all the Wills so that it is safely kept. All our newly written Wills are also added to the National Will Register.
What should I never put in my Will?
listened to our podcast?
Have you read our
Care Planning Blog?
Always carefully word gifts in your will to avoid giving something away that you might not have at your death (E.g. a bank account that may close before you die).
Your Will is a private document so anything that you write in it remains confidential. However, once a Grant of Probate has been issued it becomes a public document which means that anyone can apply to the Probate Registry for a copy. Therefore, it’s best not to include any sensitive reasons as to your thoughts; you don't want the world to see you airing your family disputes in public.
It is best to leave out a clause in your will that goes into detail about why you have excluded a beneficiary from your estate. These are often sensitive issues. By all means, you can say that you have specifically excluded a beneficiary but if you feel the need to tell people why, do this in a separate letter to your executors which sits with your will.