STEP code for Will preparation in England and Wales
STEP code for Will preparation in England and Wales

The following Wills & Probate practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • STEP code for Will preparation in England and Wales
  • Dealing with a client
  • Client identity
  • Mental (testamentary) capacity
  • Confidentiality
  • Storage
  • Third party dealings
  • Family and beneficiaries
  • Joint instructions
  • Staff qualifications
  • More...

In comparison with the Wills and Inheritance Quality Scheme introduced by the Law Society the STEP code is underwhelming. However, they are probably designed to appeal to two different audiences. The former is designed as a voluntary scheme that should show a practice that adopts it as an efficient, effective and consistent Will writing entity and distinguished from its non-certified competitors. It could thus be described as publicity orientated although its intention is to upgrade Will writing (and estate administration) practice.

On the other hand, the STEP provisions are compulsory for every STEP member involved in Will writing activities. It also forms part of the much wider STEP Code of Professional Conduct.

As many Will writers are not STEP members but work in firms with such members, it would seem that the long-term aim is to hope that such 'mixed' firms actually adopt the STEP provisions voluntarily. Where firms have adopted the WIQS and also have STEP members as the two protocols are mutually exclusive, it is unclear what will happen. It would seem illogical to have both systems working independently of each other and, where this is the case, it is advised that the advice of the STEP Professional Standards Committee be sought. This would be particularly true if any conflicts were apparent, although at first sight the two systems cover much the same ground

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