STEP Certificate for Financial Services - Trusts and Estate Planning

Enabling those in the financial services industry to work more effectively with other private client professionals.

STEP Diploma

Taking a STEP Certificate provides entry credits that can enable you to enrol on the STEP Diploma. Find out more

What does this qualification cover and how is it delivered?

What does this qualification cover?

The Certificate covers:

  • Domicile and Residence
  • Intestate Succession
  • Inheritance Tax
  • Introduction to Trusts
  • Classification of Trusts
  • Will Trusts
  • The Transferable Nill-Rate Band
  • The Residence Nill-Rate Band 
  • Post Death Matters
  • Trusts Used in Financial Services
  • Taxation of Trusts
  • Trustee Duties
  • The Incapacitated Client
  • The Philanthropic Client


How is it delivered?

The Certificate is distance-learning based and is assessed by way of a five-hour open-book written examination.

What are the benefits to me and my employer?

How will I benefit from this course?

Successful completion of this certificate will help you 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 my employer benefit?

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 member, 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.

Entry advice and requirements

Who would find this qualification useful?

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.

What are the entry requirements?

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 certificates meaning that there are no pre-course entry requirements.

How many STEP membership credits does this course provide?

This course provides 30 entry level credits. Find out more about how many credits you need to reach Full STEP membership

Further course details

How much will it cost?

For fee information please visit the CLTI website.

Where and when is it available?

You can find further details and course dates on the CLTI website.

How do I apply?

Find out more information on enrolment

Help and advice

For enquiries on course enrolment please contact CLTI at [email protected] or +44(0)121 362 7733. For any other queries regarding professional development please email STEP at [email protected].


CPD Policy

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


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

Our Education Partner: CLTI

The Advanced Certificates that make up the STEP Diploma are delivered by STEP's primary training partner, CLTI. CLTI is a professional training, education and qualifications provider for the financial services industry, and over the past 20 years, CLTI and STEP have worked together to develop more than 25 qualifications and training courses that fit practitioners’ needs, and support STEP’s Exam Route to Full Membership