Attorney, Business Manager & CPA Fiduciary Liability Exposure Checklist

Avoid Attorney Professional Negligence or Legal Malpractice Claims

Tips and pitfalls for Attorneys, Business Managers and CPAs

  • Providing investment advice to clients whether or not you receive compensation
  • Drawing the line between investment advice and legal, financial or tax advice
  • Serving as trustee to accommodate a client who doesn’t want heirs to know or be involved; be especially careful if an ILIT (irrevocable life insurance trust, TOLI trust owned life insurance) or life insurance is involved
  • Recommending any investment, stockbroker, financial planner or insurance agent to a trustee then failing to monitor the situation, among other things; personnel turnover happens and suitability, supervision and compliance may erode
  • Receiving any remuneration, compensation or emoluments for referrals, investments or insurance, etc.

Steps to help insulate your practice against claims for professional negligence, attorney malpractice or breach of fiduciary duty

  • Identify potential fiduciary risk exposure areas in your practice
  • Review E&O insurance for coverage or exclusions related to investment fiduciary activities
  • Inform clients who act as trustees of their personal fiduciary responsibilities and liability
  • Alert clients of their personal potential liability before they accept a trustee or board position on a non-profit, foundation or endowment, no matter how prestigious
  • Become familiar with federal and state laws concerning investment fiduciary standards of care:
  • Uniform Prudent Investor Act (UPIA)
  • Taft Hartley Act – Union or multi – employer pensions
  • Uniform Management of Public Employee’s Pension Systems Act (UMPERs)
  • Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA)

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