Industry News

STEP launches new Code for all members preparing wills in England and Wales

Monday, 13 January, 2014

STEP today announces the launch of a new Code for STEP members preparing wills in England and Wales. The STEP Code for Will Preparation in England and Wales lays out a set of ethical principles that demonstrate openly the standard of transparency and service a client can expect from a STEP member preparing their will.

The Code, which will take effect from 1 April 2014, bolsters the existing STEP Code of Professional Conduct and will apply to all STEP members in England & Wales who prepare wills.

The Code is a framework within which each STEP member who undertakes this area of work can determine how best to meet the needs of each individual client – while at the same time operating within appropriate standards. It does not set out a detailed and prescriptive procedure for will preparation.

STEP has introduced this Code following the UK government’s decision not to introduce a statutory scheme in relation to will writing, requesting instead that professional bodies voluntarily bring in their own codes. In that context STEP has developed its own standards for members to adhere to.

Geoffrey Shindler OBE TEP, STEP President commented: ‘The Code will, I hope, become the hallmark to which all aspire when drafting wills. It is a condition of membership that we all adhere to the code, but it should be seen less as a burden and more as a positive benefit. It will demonstrate to clients, the public, to the government and to regulators that we are of a gold standard when it comes to preparing wills for individual clients.’

Initially the code will apply only to members in England and Wales, but in time STEP plans to enable all STEP jurisdictions to adopt the principles of the Code and apply them in a way that works within each individual jurisdiction.

More information, including the Code itself and an explanatory video on how it will work in practice and how it benefits practitioners, can be found on the STEP website.

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