When CPAs and financial advisors develop a trusting relationship with their clients, it can often be tempting for them to assist in legal matters.
But Cordell & Cordell Principal Partner Joe Cordell recently spoke to Phoenix’s “Business for Breakfast,” broadcast by Money Radio 1510, about why that’s never a good idea for anyone other than attorneys.
On the program, Mr. Cordell discussed his recent article “Toeing The Line” that appeared in Financial Advisor Magazine. In his interview, Mr. Cordell explained that when professionals cross the line of what they’re permitted to do and begin giving advice that constitutes legal advice, they can face civil and even criminal damages.
“Especially when it comes to preparing any sort of legal document, there’s a temptation if you’re the financial go-to person, whether you start out as a stockbroker for that family or maybe you start as an insurance agent for that family, it’s really tempting to be helpful,” Mr. Cordell said. “… My advice to those professionals is to resist the temptation, because it could come to the attention of the bar and it might turn out that it is in fact the practice of law.”
Mr. Cordell also touched on the difficulties consumers face in such situations. He advised that whenever someone is dealing with a matter that is inherently legal, they should turn first to their attorney, even when they have another advisor they think might be helpful.
“I would suggest that anytime somebody faces something they know relates to a legal matter, even when they suspect that their stockbroker or another financial expert near them might be tempting to use, they should instead pick up the phone and contact their attorney and get a referral through them if it’s an area that involves a specialist as a lawyer,” Mr. Cordell said.
Listen to the full interview here below.