STEP Advanced Certificate in Advising Vulnerable Clients

A comprehensive programme for professionals advising those with issues of mental and physical incapacity.

All STEP courses are open for enrolment with delivery adjusted to ensure continuity of access to learning during the COVID 19 crisis. For courses not previously delivered online, teaching will be delivered through online classrooms and examinations via online assessment. For further information, please see advice on our primary education partner, CLT International’s, website

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

There is nothing else available which is as comprehensive as this course

Jane Flaherty TEP, Solicitor, Waddington & Son

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What does this qualification cover and how is it delivered?

What does this qualification cover?

The content of the course is based on the law in England and Wales.

Part 1 – The Knowledge Framework

This course includes the following modules:

  • Professional conduct
  • Capacity legislation, including international elements
  • Working for vulnerable clients, including descriptions of vulnerability and understanding different faiths
  • Adults with mental capacity, including powers of attorney, advance decisions, gifts, and deathbed planning
  • Adults without mental capacity, including making financial, health and welfare decisions

Part 2 - The Practical Framework

This course includes the following modules:

  • Processes, including instructing experts, drafting Court of Protection applications, drafting trusts and identifying care home contract problems
  • How to obtain state support from the NHS, Social Services and the DWP
  • How to handle tricky situations, including challenging local authorities and the NHS, objecting to the registration of an LPA or EPA, dealing with safeguarding concerns and challenging families

You can see a more detailed syllabus here (PDF 140KB).

How is it delivered?

Each part of this certificate uses a blended learning approach, incorporating distance learning and a three-day workshop. Part 1 will take one month to complete. Part 2 will take three months to complete, including submitting an assignment for assessment. Both parts of the programme must be taken and the assessment following Part 2 passed, in order to gain the STEP Advanced Certificate in Advising Vulnerable Clients.

What are the benefits to me and my employer?

Each part is credit rated by STEP and SRA as providing 30 structured CPD credits towards your annual CPD requirement.

As a result of successfully completing Part 1 of the course you will be able to:

  • Comply with current best practice and professional standards
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the mental capacity legal landscape
  • Assess the mental capacity of a client for different transactions
  • Deal with clients with international aspects to their estates
  • Reduce the risk of disputes and overcome problems when planning ahead
  • Advise those making decisions on behalf of a person who lacks mental capacity
  • Advise clients and their families on end of life concerns

As a result of successfully completing Part 2 of the course you will be able to:

  • Make various court applications with confidence
  • Draft trusts for vulnerable people
  • Seek state support and challenge the provision of state support
  • Advise on the sustainability of care
  • Manage disputes and difficult situations

How will this benefit my employer?

Completing this Advanced Certificate will enable your organisation to:

  • Offer a specialist service differentiating you from other providers
  • Streamline your processes to improve professional efficiencies
  • Manage risk in a highly complex service area
  • Develop business opportunities in a growing market

Who would find this qualification useful and what are the entry requirements?

Who would it be useful for?

The content of the course is based on the law in England and Wales. The course is appropriate for TEPs, solicitors, barristers, accountants, financial planners and any other professionals who work with vulnerable clients and require a thorough understanding of the legal and practice framework encompassing issues of mental and physical incapacity.

What are the entry requirements?

It is recommended that delegates should be qualified TEPs, solicitors, barristers, accountants, or financial planners. Professionals with experience of working with vulnerable clients, but without a qualification suggested above, should check STEP’s standard entry requirements.

The STEP Qualifications and Membership Framework and entry to Advanced Certificates

Applicants for a STEP Advanced Certificate will be required to gain 60 entry level credits prior to enrolling on the course.

Entry level credits can be gained through the standard application process or through credits gained from a STEP Certificate.

You can gain 60 entry level credits by any combination of the following:

  • Relevant prior qualification - Up to 30 entry level credits (maximum)
  • Relevant experience - Up to 30 entry level credits (maximum)
  • STEP Certificate(s) - 60 entry level credits

Further course details

How long will it take to complete?

Part 1 - the knowledge framework - will take 1 month to complete and part 2 - the practical framework - will take 3 months to complete.

How much will it cost?

The course fee for each part is GBP1,950 + UK VAT. The STEP member discount rate is GBP1,745 + UK VAT.

Should you wish to enrol for both parts (one and two of the course together) a special rate is available as follows:
GBP3,705 + UK VAT or GBP3,315.50 + UK VAT for STEP full members.

The fee includes:

  • Course manual, containing precedents, checklists and support tools
  • Online resource portal
  • Three day face-to-face workshop
  • Self-assessment material
  • Access to an online community of practice

Where is it available?

This qualification is currently available in England and Wales.

What are the course dates?

For full course dates visit the CLTI website

How do I apply?

Help and advice

If you have any queries and would like to speak to someone you can either call CLTI on +44 (0)121 362 7733 or email

Specialist Diploma

Successful completion of both Parts 1 & 2 of this course gives you 60 Diploma Level (DL) credits towards a STEP Diploma in Advising Vulnerable Clients. For more details of this and other specialist diplomas, please see STEP Diplomas

Once you have 120 DL credits, plus a minimum of 2 years’ relevant experience, you can apply for Full STEP membership, and the use of the post nominal TEP.

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

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