Attorney & 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, also known as 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 or compensation 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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