Shall We Dance? The Benefits Of STEP AND TEP
STEP and TEP may sound like moves performed by the Royal Ballet, but they actually stand for a highly recognised, worldwide professional body representing trusts and estate practitioners from many professions, including law.
Bennett Griffin supports its staff in becoming STEP members, and we are proud to confirm that Tania Clapham and Ian Macara are Full members, Elin Dukes is an Associate member, and Lucy Nevill is an Affiliate member.
What are STEP and TEP?
STEP stands for the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. It provides education, training and networking connections for its members.
STEP members are specialists in inheritance and estate planning. As such, they draft Wills and trusts, administer estates, act as trustees and advise families on how best to structure their wealth to ensure compliance with domestic and international laws, and preserve their assets for future generations.
TEP, which stands for Trust and Estate Practitioner, is the name given to Full members of STEP. To qualify, practitioners must prove they have specialist qualifications and experience, including a high-level knowledge of inheritance and succession planning.
What are STEP’s aims?
STEP states that its primary focus is to “improve public understanding of the issues families face in relation to inheritance and succession planning and promote education and high professional standards among our members.”
It does this via four main channels:
Training and development
Access to professional training and development is one of the biggest advantages for STEP members (and subsequently their clients). Courses range from entry-level programmes to highly technical advanced certificates and diplomas. In addition, a wide range of resources is available for members to continue with professional development throughout their career and share resources.
All of our specialist advisors at Bennett Griffin follow the STEP Code of Conduct regardless of whether or not that individual is STEP qualified.
To highlight our commitment to quality service, a copy of the Guide of the STEP Code for Will Preparation is forwarded to all our clients who are taking advantage of our bespoke Wills Service.
STEP takes a lead role in expressing members’ opinions and suggestions to governments, business groups, tax authorities and members of the public. The organisation is fully committed to improving regulation and public understanding relating to trusts, estates, inheritance tax planning and succession.
TEPS are part of a global network of 20,000 members. Our members share knowledge and experience between them, which adds enormous value for clients, especially ones whose assets and wealth are held in multiple jurisdictions.
The STEP Code of Professional Conduct
The STEP Code of Professional Conduct provides protection and a consistent standard of service to consumers of trusts and estate services. Some of the main principles members must adhere to include:
- perform competent work at all times. This includes being prepared and having the required knowledge and skills to perform the task required
- act with integrity and conduct themselves in a manner which inspires the confidence, respect and trust of his or her clients and the wider community
- be unfailing courteous and considerate to all people whom they encounter in their work
- act objectively and exercise independent, professional judgment
- avoid conflicts of interest and refrain from breaching client confidence
Why choose a solicitor who is a member of STEP?
If you require legal advice and/or representation in matters involving Wills, estates, trusts, inheritance tax and succession planning, by choosing a solicitor who is a member of STEP you can be confident they are leaders in their field. Due to the strict criteria for becoming a TEP, as a client, you can be confident that your solicitor is following a strict code of integrity, professionalism and is constantly updating their knowledge and skills.
Bennett Griffin is an award-winning solicitors based in West Sussex, with offices in central Worthing and Ferring. Our experienced and specialist solicitors offer a comprehensive service and will work with you in an honest, considered and practical manner. Our wills, trusts and probate department can advise and assist you on all matters relating to inheritance, tax planning, and succession. Please contact us on 01903 229 999 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The information contained in this article is for general guidance only and is not intended to be legal advice. Professional advice should always be taken on the application of the law in any particular situation.