Protecting CPAs and their clients from estate planning fraud.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently stated that trust and estate matters are the third highest growth area among the top CPA firms and estimates that by 2015, $4.8 trillion in wealth will be transferred or inherited from one generation to the next (IRS, 2012c). Because of this, estate planning (sometimes referred to as wealth preservation planning) will likely be a topic of discussion for many CPAs and their clients. Although estate planning issues serve to augment CPA revenues, there is a downside; estate planning fraud is on the rise and CPAs must be aware of the inherent problems and warning signs. The purposes of this paper are: (1) to provide a tutorial to CPAs as to the basics of wills and trusts, (2) to educate CPAs as to the diverse methods in which fraud can enter into the estate planning arena, and (3) to provide practical ways that CPAs can be alerted to possible fraudulent situations and specific suggestions to prevent fraud from occurring. Advice is also provided regarding the issue of professional liability protection for CPAs involved in estate planning.
Georgia Southern University. Center for Forensic Studies in Accounting and Business
Barker, K. & Stowell, N.F. (2012). Protecting CPAs and their clients from estate planning fraud. Journal of Forensic Studies in Accounting and Business, 4(1), 25-40.
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