The new STEP Provisions third edition

On 26 September 2023, the new STEP Provisions third edition was accepted by the probate registrar, allowing them to be incorporated in wills from that date onwards. When using step provisions in a will, most practitioners will most likely use the newest edition rather than stick to the earlier ones. Similar to the second edition, the STEP Provisions third edition has standard provisions which should be safe to use in most wills, as well as special provisions which can be incorporated where needed.

Special provisions

Special provisions can be very helpful; they include permissions to borrow, delegate, set up or manage companies, and the appointment and retirement of trustees. There are also protections for trustees including decisions on:

  • Where they need to use discretion
  • Where there is an imbalance between beneficiaries
  • Where distributions have been made when there were beneficiaries unknown to them

The following wording will result in the provisions applying for the standard or special provisions as applicable and will save each incorporation a significant number of paragraphs (which test data will often find complex and confusing). “The standard provisions and the following special provisions of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (3rd Edition) shall apply”.

So what has changed?

  1. Provision 5 “The trustee shall hold land in England and Wales on trust for sale” has been removed as this is now covered within statute.
  2. The old clause 18 of the special provisions relating to payments to minors and beneficiaries without capacity has now been moved to the standard provisions (now found as provision 5 of the third edition).
  3. Section 22 of the special provisions giving power to value appropriations at the time of death has been removed as under general law the valuation should be made as the time of the appropriation. 

In the absence of specialist requirements, the new provisions are likely to be used immediately. There is no reason why the previous first and second provisions would not be applicable if they were appropriate at the time they were included in a will. It is therefore not envisaged that older wills will be changed as a matter of urgency. However, where a new will is replacing an older one, it would seem appropriate to replace the provisions.

Please remember the STEP provisions only apply to England and Wales.

The next step

If you would like to discuss any of the points above, please contact Peter Tuffin at UHY Hacker Young (Brighton & Hove) via, or your usual UHY contact.

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