STEP Certificate for Financial Services - Trusts and Estate Planning

This Certificate bridges the divide between solicitors and financial advisors, enabling those in financial services to work more effectively with other professionals

This qualification is a collaboration between STEP and CLT International (CLTI).

This is a very useful course for anyone involved, or wanting to get involved, with trusts or inheritance tax planning. This is an essential course for anyone wanting to deal with accountants and solicitors in this area. The course book, and associated learning materials have become a very useful reference book which is used very frequently

Carl Martin, BSc (Hons), FPFS, CFPCM Consultant - Chartered Financial Planner Carpenter Rees Limited

The STEP Certificate for Financial Services (Trusts and Estate Planning) is aimed in particular at investment advisers, financial planners and those working in the banking sector dealing with trusts and estates. This qualification is a collaboration between STEP and CLT International (CLTI), available in England, Scotland and Wales..

Course outcomes

How will this course benefit me?

As a result of successfully completing the Certificate, you will be able to:

  • Describe the wide variety of lifetime trust structures commonly found in private client work
  • Describe the use and appropriateness of different will trusts commonly encountered
  • Explain the purpose and operation of trusts used in conjunction with life and pension contracts
  • Calculate the transferable nil rate band of a widowed client so that recommendations about inheritance tax (IHT) planning in a client report are accurate
  • Identify and describe the factors affecting a client’s residence and domicile and outline the impact these can have on a client’s estate planning needs
  • Identify and analyse opportunities for a client to mitigate IHT, such as through the use of exemptions and lifetime gifts
  • Understand and paraphrase the technical legal language used by lawyers in discussing private client matters
  • Discuss the impact of dying intestate (under English, Scottish or Welsh Law) on the destination of a client’s wealth
  • Describe the duties and responsibilities of trustees in relation to investment matters
  • Outline areas to watch for when dealing with the affairs of an incapacitated client or a client whose affairs are dealt with under the various types of powers of attorney.

How will this course benefit my employer?

Once you have successfully completed the Certificate, you will be able to appreciate fully the complex interactions that exist between the legal and taxation factors impacting various types of private client. This will:

  • Increase your knowledge and understanding of the legal and tax factors of estate planning
  • Enhance your ability to deliver holistic investment and financial planning advice to clients as a “trusted advisor”
  • Arm you with a qualification recognised by the STEP community, a group which includes the most respected solicitors and accountants working within the fields of trust, tax and probate.

In addition, you will also be more confident when talking to other professionals on issues relating to the use of trusts in estate planning. As a STEP affiliate, you will be associated with the premier professional body dealing with the stewardship of personal wealth, and so develop enhanced professional credibility. You will therefore be better-placed to win clients, in particular from law firms, as you build your business through developing a wider, more fruitful and profitable network.

Course content and delivery

What does this qualification cover?

  • Domicile and residence
  • Intestate succession
  • Inheritance tax Trusts – an introduction
  • Lifetime trusts – a classification
  • Will trusts The transferable nil rate band
  • Post-death matters
  • Trusts used in financial services
  • Taxation of trusts
  • Trustee duties
  • The incapacitated client
  • The philanthropic client

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How is it delivered?

The Certificate is distance-learning based. In order to pass the Certificate you must successfully complete a three-hour closed-book examination.

Who the course is for

Who would it be useful for?

The STEP Certificate for Financial Services (Trusts and Estate Planning) is aimed in particular at investment advisers, financial planners and those working in the banking sector dealing with trusts and estates.

The course will support candidates looking for a more integrated approach to their client work, by helping them to develop an awareness of the legal, tax and investment issues which overlap with estate planning.

Entry criteria

This is an open-entry Certificate but it is recommended that applicants should have some experience or have undertaken some study of the core areas covered in the Certificate, namely trusts, tax and estate planning.

STEP currently operates an open entry policy for all of the STEP qualifications meaning that there are no pre-course entry requirements.

As part of the new STEP Qualifications and Membership Framework, applicants can use this Certificate towards their 60 entry level credits. Entry level credits can also be gained through the standard application process.

Further course information

How long will it take to complete?

This Certificate will take four months to complete.

How much will it cost?

The course fee for this Certificate is GBP495.00 plus VAT

This fee includes:

  • The course manual
  • Access to the online resource centre
  • Mock exam preparation
  • Self-assessment material
  • Examination fee

Where is it available?

Examinations will be held in the following locations:

  • London
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Leeds
  • Edinburgh

Venues will be confirmed to delegates by email at least four weeks prior to the examination date.

For the full list of venues and exam dates, please visit the CLTI website.

Hear from a past delegate

Eliana Sydes, Financial Planner and Wealth Manager at Towry, discusses her experience of studying the Certificate and how the course has helped enhance her expertise. Read our case study here

How do I apply?

Register online or download and return the enrolment form (PDF 214KB)

CPD Policy

Members are required to maintain and develop their knowledge and skills to ensure a high standard of practice.

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CLT International

Our training partner CLT International provides a range of courses for those working in the UK trust and estates industry.

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Join STEP

We offer a range of member categories to suit your professional requirements, qualifications and experience.

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