STEP - Advanced Certificate

Set 1

STEP Advanced Certificate in the Administration of Trusts (England and Wales)

STEP Advanced Certificate in the Administration of Trusts (England and Wales)
Credits Awarding Body STEP
Set 1 - Private wealth administration and governance

This course aims to provide practitioners with the technical knowledge and practical skills required to deliver advice in England and Wales relating to administering trusts. This Advanced Certificate can be taken as part of the STEP Diploma.



The course enables you to improve your technical knowledge of the issues arising in trust and estate practice, enhancing your ability to give holistic advice to your clients as a trusted advisor. It increases your understanding of the administration of trusts and estates and enables you to give practical advice on the law and procedures involved. 

This course is awarded in association with Alliance Manchester Business School, the University of Manchester.

You will be able to: 

  • Explain the relationship between common law and equity
  • Distinguish between legal and equitable rights
  • Describe the nature of a beneficiary’s equitable interest
  • Appreciate how the trust concept has been allowed to develop
  • Define the relationship between the settlor, trustees, and beneficiaries of a trust
  • Explain what is meant by a fiduciary relationship
  • Describe the nature of the duties owed by a fiduciary to his principal
  • Identify several types of trust
  • State the ways in which trusts are used today
  • Describe the requirements necessary to create a valid trust
  • Apply the three certainties of intention, subject matter, and objects
  • Identify that the settlor must have capacity to create the trust
  • Explain that any declaration of trust of land must be evidenced in writing
  • Appreciate that any disposition of an equitable interest must be made in writing
  • Describe the creation of fully and half-secret trusts
  • Explain and differentiate between different fixed interest trusts
  • Be able to explain the key features of discretionary trusts, including the choice of the trustee, the use of a letter of wishes, the rights of beneficiaries, and asset protection trusts
  • Explain who will qualify as a disabled beneficiary
  • Understand the two different types of disabled person’s trust and their requirements
  • Identify the nature and types of implied and resulting trusts
  • Analyse the situations where a resulting trust will arise
  • Explain what happens on the failure of an express trust
  • Understand the nature of a constructive trust
  • Identify the situations where a constructive trust can arise
  • Analyse the nature of the fiduciary relationship
  • Understand the impact of a stranger’s intermeddling with trust property
  • Determine the extent of the ‘dishonest assistance’ principle
  • Explain the reasons why trusts established to benefit a purpose rather than persons are invalid
  • Identify the exceptions to the general rule, namely: 
  • An anomalous group of private trusts of imperfect obligation 
  • Trusts in favour of incorporated associations 
  • Valid charitable trusts 
  • Describe the responsibilities of the trustee
  • Explain who can act as a trustee
  • Explain how trustees are appointed Outline the trustees’ duties of conversion, apportionment, and distribution
  • Explain the general principles applicable to the exercise of trustees’ decision-making powers
  • Explain the alternative actions that a trustee may take when faced with an anticipatory breach of trust
  • Explain the indirect ways in which a variation of the terms of a trust can be made without having recourse to the assistance of the court
  • Outline the key issues arising from the drafting of a trust deed (settlement)
  • Describe the impact of issues of language, style, and construction

Students of this course typically include: 

  • Legal and trust professionals 
  • Support staff and paralegals 
  • Accountants and banking professionals 
  • Charity specialists 
  • Tax advisors 
  • Independent financial advisors 
  • Executorship administrators 
  • Successful completion of the course will award students with 30 Diploma-Level credits towards STEP membership. 
  • Ideal for practitioners looking for professional accreditation, moving into or already working within the trusts and estates profession. 
  • A recognised ‘gold-standard’ professional qualification for those working in the industry, globally recognised by employers, regulators, clients, and professionals. 
  • Ability to grow your own professional network, meeting students from a range of professions providing an opportunity for networking, building relationships, and sharing study tips/support as a cohort. 
  • Students can submit academic queries to a dedicated programme content team. 
  • Blended delivery, including structured workshops designed and taught by experienced practitioners and tutors and access to an online learning platform. 
  • The course is subject to the rigorous quality assurance procedures of Manchester Business School, a Faculty of the University of Manchester. 


60 Entry-Level Credits 

Note: Applicants must have obtained 60 STEP Entry-Level credits to enrol onto this course or be a member of STEP. Visit STEP's Qualifications and Membership to understand how to apply. 

This course has two annual intakes, in January and July (and assessments taking place in May and November). The programme is delivered through a combination of online learning and three online workshops and will take four months to complete. We recommend that you spend four to six hours per week on private study for the four months prior to the examination.

Enrolment onto this course will include the following:

  • a bespoke soft copy course manual
  • access to an online learning platform that contains:
    • tailor-made webinars
    • eLearning modules
    • self-assessment material
    • distance learning support
  • attendance at two days of tuition
  • examination fees.

The course is assessed by way of a five-hour open-book written examination which comprises six 20-mark questions, from which candidates must answer five. The questions will be drawn from across the syllabus and candidates must achieve 50% in order to pass the Advanced Certificate. 

Once you have successfully completed this course, you will gain 30 Diploma-Level credits towards STEP membership and be awarded the STEP Advanced Certificate in Administration of Trusts (England and Wales).

Course Timetable January 2024

Course Timetable July 2024

Please note all courses are delivered fully online.

Please note that we will register you for your preferred workshop dates where possible, though if the session reaches capacity we will enrol you on additional dates available. All dates will be confirmed in your booking email.

When selecting workshop dates for this course, please only select dates from same cohort, e.g. Group 1. Workshops do have a limited capacity, so in the event of capacity being reached, alternative dates will be allocated to you.

Please check your booking confirmation for your workshop dates and get in touch if you have any queries relating to this.

Due to government regulations, we are unable to accept online payments from, or, on behalf of students from certain countries and territories without prior agreement. Please contact us for further details.



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Get in touch...

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4 Months



Entry Criteria

60 Entry-Level Credits

Note: Applicants must have obtained 60 STEP Entry-Level credits to enrol onto this course or be a member of STEP. Visit STEP's Qualifications and Membership Framework to understand how to apply.

Course Fee: £1100

When selecting workshop dates, please only select dates from same cohort, e.g. Group 1 or Group 2, etc.  Workshops do have a limited capacity, so in the event of capacity being reached, alternative dates will be allocated to you.