The trajectory of our duties and responsibilities toward clients and others is evolving in a sharp upward spiral. Expanding theories of liability have contributed to a huge increase in malpractice actions against estate planners.
• It is reasonable to assume that CPAs have an affirmative duty to raise planning opportunities with their clients? Since estate planners seek to be, and hold themselves out as being, “the client’s wealth planning advisor”, increasingly courts will hold them to a high standard, especially if there is confirmation in their promotional materials.
• CPAs often advise clients who are fiduciaries and many CPAs act as fiduciaries. Under certain rules, such as the “Duty of Loyalty”, the prohibitions are very strict and liability exists even if the advisor acts in good faith and beneficiaries receive increased benefits.
• What advice and strategies should you be telling your client and, if not mentioned and challenged, is it defensible?