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Saturday, June 25, 2011

An accountant who writes a will for a client must be as competent as a lawyer

Over the years I've seen a few wills drawn up by accountants and other non-lawyers at the request of clients. The vast majority of accountants are much too smart to get sucked in, but it does happen. Clients have no idea of just how much they impose on the accountant when they insist on this. While you're at it, why not insist that the dentist give you a colonoscopy and the engineer complete your tax returns? I'll never understand this thinking. The client can't possibly think this is going to be cheaper in the long run.

In this new Newfoundland case of Rowsell vs. MacKinnon, the court said that if an accountant is going to write a will, it has to be of the same standard as a lawyer would write. Pretty hard to achieve when the accountant hasn't been to law school. Obviously the accountant in this case wasn't able to achieve it or we wouldn't be reading about this case.

To read a commentary about the case from BC lawyer Stan Rule, click here.

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