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STEP Canada

Certificate in Estate and Trust Administration 1: Foundations of Estate and Trust Administration (CETA1)

Advocis, The Financial Advisor's Association of Canada is excited to partner with STEP Canada to present the first course of the CETA program, CETA1: Foundations of Estate and Trust Administration to its members.

STEP Canada's CETA offering is an online, self-study program designed for individuals who want to start or advance their career in trust and estate, and for employers who want to seize the many business opportunities resulting from today's changing demographics. The CETA1 course is designed as an introduction to the legal systems that govern trust and estate, while offering an overview of the roles and responsibilities held by trustees, personal representatives and substitute decision makers. This course offers students a detailed review of the law of wills, and the steps necessary for administering an estate, as well as an introduction to the Canadian tax rules that apply on death and the taxation of trusts.

CETA1 is offered as a single professional development course but can be pursued as part of the full CETA program, which consists of three courses with exams (CETA1, 2, 3) and a final cumulative certification examination to achieve the program certificate.

Who Should Enrol?

This innovative educational offering is designed to enhance the knowledge and performance of Canadian estate administrators, trust officers, junior trust officers, retail bankers, law clerks, junior associates, paralegals, wealth management sales representatives, and administrative assistants working in the area of estates and trusts.


Candidates who have a successful post-secondary education and/or one-year of wealth industry work experience are eligible to enrol.


CETA1 is an online, self-study program with a recommended 60-80 hours of study time. Students who enroll in CETA1 can complete the course within a few months, but have up to one full calendar year.

  • Learning Objectives
  • Overview
  • Features
  • Delivery
  • Price

Upon completion of the CETA1 course, students will be able to:

  • Compare the roles and responsibilities of personal representatives, trustees, agents, and substitute decision makers
  • Determine the validity of a testamentary document
  • Identify, value, and safeguard estate assets and liabilities
  • Identify the beneficiaries of an estate
  • Identify the tax returns required on death
  • Ensure that estate and trust administrative records are maintained
  • Calculate the compensation for personal representatives

Format: Online learning & two-hour exam

CE Credits: 30 CE credits accredited by the Institute of Advanced Financial Education (I.A.F.E)

Additional Material: None

Completion Requirements:

  • Passing mark is 60%
  • Completion of one online exam (100% of overall mark)

Exam: STEP Canada offers two exam sittings annually, in both September and March. The format of the exam is 100 multiple choice, true/false, and matching type questions. After you have written the exam, you will receive notification of your exam results through STEP Canada's eLearning site.

  • Study material (11 chapters)
  • Self-assessment quizzes
  • Sample exam questions
  • Unlimited access to content
  • A one-hour tutorial session with a subject matter expert held before each exam sitting
  • Social media networking
  • Q & A reference
  • One exam attempt
  • Letter of completion will be sent to candidates who pass the exam

Self-study: This is designed as an online, self-study course, with success highly dependent on the student's personal discipline. Students will need to review the material, complete the self-assessment chapter quizzes and sample exam to confirm their understanding.

CETA1: $795 CAD + provincial/territorial taxes.


Please contact should you have questions regarding CETA1 and the registration process.

About STEP:

The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is the leading international organization for trust and estates professionals, and a preeminent provider of trust and estate education and professional development. STEP is headquartered in London, England, and has more than 20,000 members worldwide across 95 countries. STEP Canada was founded in 1998, and has over 2,300 members with eight branches, three chapters and a national office situated in Toronto. The organization is the primary educator of Canadian trust and estate professionals.

STEP aims to raise the public profile of trust and estate work as a profession, and to provide a forum for discussion and advancement of practitioner knowledge of relevant tax, accounting, administration, statute and case law through regular branch seminars, symposia, and an annual national conference. STEP Canada is also active in making representations of a technical nature to government, policymakers and related professional bodies, with the goal of promoting better understanding of trusts and estates, and improving related law and policy.

STEP is recognized for administering the Trust and Estate Practitioner designation (TEP), which is internationally acknowledged and demonstrates expertise in the field of trusts and estates. The TEP formally distinguishes qualified practitioners from non-specialists, while offering a competitive advantage to develop clientele during this exceptional age of inter-generational wealth transfer. The TEP designation can be obtained through STEP's educational program offerings via specified routes to membership, including the CETA Program which can be bridged to STEP's Diploma Program for full membership benefits.


"As someone new to the field of estate and trust administration, the CETA1 course provided me with a strong foundation of knowledge. I was introduced to the roles and responsibilities of personal representatives, trustees, and substitute decision-makers. I gained an in-depth understanding of the law of wills and the various stages of estate administration. I was also introduced to the taxation rules that pertain to estates and trusts. I constantly find myself applying the knowledge I gained from the course to situations that arise on the job. The online format of the course allowed me to move through the content at my own pace and is very useful to have as a reference. The material was well-organized and presented in a logical order making it easy to go through. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in estate and trust services."

     — Felicia C., CETA1 graduate

"As an experienced law clerk, I found the content in CETA1: Foundation of Trust and Estate Planning, very useful. The material is up-to-date and relevant to my job functions. As the content is online, it is easily accessible (from anywhere!) and I appreciate the fact that I will continue to receive updates to chapters even though I have completed that course. I'd recommend this certificate program to all clerks, trust officers, or junior lawyers who perform trust and estate duties as it was not only a refresher for me but I'm kept abreast of legislation changes. It's also great that all jurisdictions in Canada are covered in the material."

     — Jennifer A., CETA1 graduate