STEP publishes third edition of their Standard Provisions

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)’s third edition of their standard and special provisions for wills and trust instruments subject to the law of England and Wales (SSP3), which was published on 2 November 2023.

Any adviser involved in estate planning will inevitably see a copy of their client’s will. On many occasions, the will includes a statement that “the STEP Standard Provisions (1st or 2nd edition) shall apply”. Similar wording can be incorporated in a trust deed. It is important to understand what this means and be familiar with the provisions.

The STEP Standard Provisions are a set of ready-made clauses that can be inserted into a will or a trust. These clauses provide protections and powers that enable the executors or trustees to effectively deal with the estate/trust funds.

Any properly drafted will or trust deed must contain a large amount of text dealing with routine administration matters. It had been necessary to set this out in full in each such document until STEP condensed this material into its STEP Standard Provisions.

The STEP provisions are widely used by solicitors and, of course, others drafting wills.

The Provisions were originally published in 1992 (1st edition). An update was published in 2011 (2nd edition), following changes in trust and tax law.

In 2023, the practice direction was approved by the Chief Chancery Master of the Family Division. This allowed the STEP Standard Provisions (3rd Edition) to be incorporated into wills by reference.

The main changes from the 2nd edition are as follows:

  1. Updating of the clauses on trust corporations – now reflecting the usual terms and conditions of trust corporations.
  2. Powers of maintenance and advancement – updated to reflect statutory changes made in 2014 to section 32 Trustee Act 1925 that broadened trustee powers over the entire interest of a beneficiary.
  3. Powers over capital when a minor or beneficiary without capacity is involved – this reflects the general practice of trustees needing to transfer assets to the parents of a beneficiary under 18 or to pay funds on behalf of or to a person that the trustees consider has a care or financial responsibility for a beneficiary who may lack capacity.
  4. Appropriation values – under general law the valuation for appropriation should be made at the time of the appropriation. The SSP2 allowed executors to use a valuation at the date of death instead. This has now been removed.


Any adviser advising on estate matters should review their clients’ wills.

Wills using the earlier editions of the provisions remain valid and in force, so it may be necessary to refer to those earlier editions. However, on any next update of the will, it would be sensible to ensure that the latest edition of the Provisions is incorporated.

This is an example of one of the recent news bulletins that was posted on our Techlink website.  Signing up to Techlink will give you access to original articles, like this, on a daily basis.  Techlink also provides you with a comprehensive (and searchable) library of information, daily bulletins on developments of relevance to the industry, multimedia learning and professional development tools. Techlink can also be your ‘gateway’ for accessing consultancy through our ‘ASK’ service which enables you to receive responses to your technical questions from our highly trained technical consultants.

You can sign up for a free 30 day trial of Techlink at anytime.  For more information go to