The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) has launched a new Code for Will Preparation in England & Wales.
The code lays out a set of ethical principles that demonstrate the standard of transparency and service a client can expect from a STEP member preparing their will.
The code provides clients with a list of considerations that a will drafter must consider when preparing a will. Under the code, practitioners are expected to demonstrate openness and transparency, integrity and competency in managing clients’ affairs. The range of standards that practitioners must adhere to under the code include avoiding conflicts of interest, clearly explaining cost implications to clients and managing clients’ private information appropriately.
STEP president Geoffrey Shindler OBE TEP, says: “STEP has introduced the code because will writing is not a regulated activity in England & Wales. Anyone, regardless of training or experience can set themselves up as a will writer and charge you a fee. The code ensures that if you go to a STEP member to draft your will, you can be confident that they are properly educated, operate to the highest professional competencies and to the highest possible ethical standards, both in the way they approach you and in the way they prepare your will.
“It is extremely important to have a valid will in order to determine the manner in which your assets are dealt with on your death and, ultimately, distributed to your named beneficiaries. The STEP Code will give you peace of mind that your will preparer is doing the best possible job in helping you plan for the future.”
The new code will take effect from 1 April 2014 and will apply to all STEP members in England & Wales who prepare wills.
STEP is the worldwide professional association for practitioners dealing with family inheritance and succession planning.