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Help Guide

The STEP Provisions in your Will

Your draft Will contains reference to the “Standard Provisions and all of the Special Provisions of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (2nd Edition)”. These provisions are often referred to as the STEP Provisions.

Any or all the STEP Provisions, whether standard or special, can be excluded from your Will, but we don’t often recommend this. This is because, in the main, the Provisions are there to help ensure fairness to all parties who are dealing with and/or benefitting from your Will.

If you would like us to provide you with a copy of the STEP Provisions, please let us k now. Alternatively, you can download a copy from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners’ website.

The STEP Provisions in your Will 1

Standard Provisions (1-13)

These Provisions give the executors of your Will several technical and routine provisions and powers, to help them administer your estate correctly.

The key standard provisions that you should be aware of are as follows:

Provision 9

  • Deals with conflicts of interest between Trustees and the Beneficiaries of the Trust
  • Requires the involvement of an Independent Trustee where there is any such conflict
  • Protects the beneficiaries of the Trust by ensuring that decisions made, and actions taken are in their best interests

Provision 10

  • Allows professional Trustees (e.g. where a firm of solicitors is appointed) to charge for their services as Trustee.
  • Allows such payments, even if the work could have been done by a lay Trustee (e.g. a family member or friend)

Provision 11

  • Allows Trust Corporations to charge for their services as per their Terms & Conditions at the date they were appointed

Provision 12

  • Limits the liability of Trustees where they have acted honestly and with ‘reasonable care’
  • Removes liability of lay Trustees for negligence unless they have been fraudulent and provided that there is also a professional Trustee appointed
  • Removes liability of Trustees who have sought advice from a Barrister of 5 years or more experience

Special Provisions (14-23)

These Provisions further govern the way in which Trustees can act when dealing with your estate.

They aim to ensure that the Trustees’ powers are wide enough to enable them to deal with the estate without undue delay, or interference, but not so wide as to allow the Trustees to misuse the Trust Funds without recourse.

If you would like us to provide you with a copy of the STEP Provisions, please let us know. Alternatively, you can download a copy from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners’ website which is www.step.org/step-standard-provisions/. A brief summary of the Special Provisions is below.

14   Trustees may borrow money from the Trust

15   Trustees may delegate their functions to any other person without restriction and are not liable for any negligence or fraud of that person

16   Trustees have no duty to enquire into the conduct of a company in which the Trust has an interest

17   Trustees may alter the age at which Beneficiaries receive income from the Trust

18   Trustees may apply for capital from the Trust for the benefit of a minor Beneficiary

19   Trustees have absolute discretion as to the application of their powers – there is no duty to consult any or all the Beneficiaries

20   Trustees may be appointed from outside the UK.  Trustees may retire or be discharged provided there is at least one Trustee remaining

21   Trustees may use income instead of capital to pay taxes and expenses

22   Trustees may apply the value of an asset as at the date of death, when transferring it to a Beneficiary, rather than the value of the asset as at the date of the transfer

23   Trustees may distribute the Trust without first ascertaining whether there are any unknown possible Beneficiaries

All these provisions are aimed to be helpful to Trustees while still being fair to the Beneficiaries of the Trust. Trustees also refers to Executors.

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