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Recently Released: The Third Edition of STEP Standard Provisions

by Ridley&Hall in Estates, Trusts, Wills posted December 15, 2023.
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The recently published Third Edition of the STEP Standard Provisions marks a significant update in the field of estate planning. STEP, a global professional body comprising lawyers, accountants, trustees, and other practitioners, focuses on assisting families in planning for their future. This edition aims to instill confidence in families navigating multi-generational asset planning by establishing and upholding high professional standards, influencing public policy, promoting education, and fostering global connections among practitioners.

Overview of STEP Standard Provisions

The STEP Standard Provisions serve as a crucial resource for practitioners involved in drafting Wills and Trusts under the jurisdiction of England and Wales. Designed to simplify legal language and eliminate confusion for non-experts, these provisions offer ready-made clauses that empower executors and trustees to efficiently handle estates. Given the significant changes in Will and Trust legislation since the publication of the Second Edition, updating and modernising these provisions became imperative.

Key Changes in the Third Edition

Similar to its predecessor, the Third Edition is divided into two parts: Standard Provisions, applicable to most Wills and Trusts, and Special Provisions, tailored to specific administration processes. Notably, the Third Edition introduces standardised clauses related to Trust Corporations, addressing their role in trust business and estate administration.

Amendments to Trust Corporation Clauses

A noteworthy amendment involves the standardisation of clauses concerning Trust Corporations, entities that engage in trust business and act as corporate trustees. These amendments consider the terms and conditions of Trust Corporations, although they may not apply to individuals who appoint friends or family as executors and trustees.

Removal of Provisions

The Third Edition reflects significant changes by removing three provisions from the Second Edition:

  1. Provision 5 of the Second Edition which modified Sections 31 and 32 of the Trustee Act 1925 in relation to powers of maintenance and advancement was removed as the Inheritance and Trustees Powers Act 2014 made the necessary modifications by statute and therefore the purpose of this provision has now been resolved by the law.
  2. Provision 18 of the Second Edition which stated Trustees may apply for capital from the Trust for the benefit of a minor Beneficiary was removed as a Special Condition and has been incorporated into Standard Provision 5 of the Third Edition.
  3. Provision 22 of the Second Edition which referred to the power to appropriate at value at time of death has been removed. The power to appropriate is an express power in a trust document that enables the Trustee to decide what trust assets a beneficiary should receive in satisfaction of their share in the trust.  This provision has been removed as the valuation of trust assets should be made as at the time of appropriation rather than at the value at the time of death as a matter of general law. If it is required, it is better to add a bespoke power to do so in a Will or settlement after a client has had explanation of this and they have decided whether to include it.

Importance of Competent Will Drafting

These provisions do not replace competent will drafting. It is crucial to consider the granted powers carefully. Engaging a probate professional who comprehends and can explain these provisions is essential. At Ridley & Hall, our team of experienced Wills & Probate Solicitors is ready to provide professional advice and support. For assistance or appointments, please contact our freephone number on 0800 8 60 62 65.

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Yasmin Walker – Solicitor

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