Shelley Faulkner's Blog - Travels in the land of Probate Law...

Shelley Faulkner, Solicitor at AMD Solicitors, Bristol

Week 40 - Taking the next STEP

You may or may not have heard of STEP, the snappily-named ‘Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners’.  I am currently in the process of trying to become a ‘full member’ of STEP, the accolade already achieved by some members of the department. Whilst applying for membership sounds as though it might involve completing an application form and paying a subscription, sadly this is not the case. To achieve full membership I have to take (and pass) four, three-hour long, exams, including one on the taxation of trusts and estates, which has a reputation for being on the tricky side.

One 'step' at a time, however, and my first exam on the ‘Administration of Estates’ takes place in November. You can think of me while enjoying autumn walks and leisurely weekend brunches, stuck in my study and trying to get to grips with secret trusts, hotchpot and ‘donatio mortis causa’, topics for a future blog, perhaps.

For now, I will leave you with my current topic, privileged Wills. I am now clear that, should a naval officer on active military service (and yet taking a short break on the Henleaze Road), shout across to me while running past my desk, "make sure all my things pass to Molly, will you?", a valid Will may have been created. For the avoidance of doubt, the formalities required for the creation of a Will by those not on active military service are somewhat more demanding. Please don’t try this at home!

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