What is STEP?
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 21,000 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.
Affiliate and Associate members
Other categories of STEP membership include Affiliate (entry-level) and Associate (mid-level) members. These members are either working towards gaining the requisite qualifications and/or experience for full STEP membership (TEP) or have chosen to remain at Affiliate or Associate level. All members, including Affiliate and Associate members, must adhere to STEP's Code of Professional Conduct.
If you are unsure of a practitioner's level of membership, you can search for them on the STEP Directory.