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A Coventry solicitor has achieved a Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) diploma, following additional studies which have improved her technical knowledge in advising clients in estate planning, trust and estate practice.

Christina Polychronakis, an Associate in the Wills, Trusts and Probate team at Band Hatton Button undertook the Qualified Practitioner Route to the qualification, which is a research and thesis-based option for experienced trust and estate practitioners.

Christina is now one of only eight lawyers in Coventry to hold the qualification, three of whom work for Band Hatton Button.

As a Member of STEP Christina will be able to use the post-nominal initials “TEP” (short for “Trust and Estate Practitioner”).  Being a TEP is regarded within the industry as a mark of expertise, helping to assure professional contacts such as accountants, financial advisors and also clients of a practitioner’s qualifications and ability.

Christina said: “The Qualified Practitioner route was the perfect way for me to add to my existing knowledge and skillset. The TEP designation I now carry is a widely regarded global mark for those working in the field, and STEP membership provides access to an international network of highly respected professionals with whom to share knowledge and information.”

“Being highly knowledgeable in this field is really key to practitioners in this field.  It’s essential that people with assets prepare for later life as soon as possible by putting in place a Will and a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to ensure somebody has been nominated to carry out their desired wishes.

“A common example of the importance of having an LPA in place is to provide someone with the authority to manage your finances which could include paying bills or setting up a direct debit to pay for care home fees.

“If decisions like this are left until a loved one is no longer able to make decisions for themselves or manage their own finances, then family members would have to seek a Deputyship Order from the Court of Protection which will appoint someone to manage their affairs and we generally find that this can take longer and prove costly.”

STEP is a professional body that provides education, training, representation and networking for its members who are professionals specialising in trusts and/or estates, executorships, will writing, administration and related taxation issues.

Christina joins Michelle Gavin, Head of Wills, Trusts and Probate and Charlotte Macalister, a fellow Associate in the Wills, Trusts and Probate Team.

Following qualification, Christina has been elected onto the committee of the Birmingham Branch of STEP.

Christina is also a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a specialist group of lawyers aiming to support and make a difference to older and vulnerable people.

Mark Moseley, Managing Director at Band Hatton Button, added: “We’re rightly very proud of Christina’s recent achievement.  We now have three lawyers listed by the prestigious organisation, STEP.  This serves to reinforce our position as a leading firm in Coventry and the wider region.”

ENDS