Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)

A properly drafted will needs to include various technical definitions and if your will establishes an ongoing trust, your trustees need the power to effectively operate and administer that trust. This means that they need to be given certain powers to deal with routine administrative matters.

In the past, all of this text had to be reproduced in full which made wills long and cumbersome. So STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) condensed this material into its Standard and Special Provisions (which is now in its second edition). And this means that important legal matters can be part of a will without having to be set out at great length.

By adopting the STEP Provisions, you include a single clause in your will saying that the STEP Provisions are incorporated into it. This avoids using technical terms and lengthy drafting in the will itself and keeps it simple and easy to understand. Additionally, it ensures consistency in the way that wills are drafted and means that it is easier for lawyers and courts to interpret them.

What sort of provisions do the STEP provisions contain?

The STEP Standard Provisions second edition contain various useful definitions and gives trustees certain powers relating to the administration of any trust, including:

  • investing trust property;
  • managing or disposing of trust property;
  • dealing with income and capital arising within the trust;
  • payment of tax;
  • payment of trust property to charities;
  • payments to minors and beneficiaries without mental capacity;
  • trustee remuneration; and
  • liability of trustees.

Of course when the trustees exercise any of these powers they have a legal duty to act with reasonable care and in the interests of the beneficiaries.

The STEP provisions are divided into two parts – the Standard Provisions and the Special Provisions. For all or any of the Special Provisions to be included in your will, it must say so explicitly. A copy of the most recent edition of the STEP provisions, both standard and special, can be found on the STEP website.