Advanced Underwriting Consultants

Question of the Day – May 3

Ask the Experts!

The professionals at Advanced Underwriting Consultants (AUC) answer the tax questions posed by producers.  Here’s the question of the day.

Question: I have worked with a married couple on their financial planning and insurance for years.  They are getting divorced, and I expect the process will be unfriendly.  How should I plan to deal with the ethical issues I might face?

Answer: While there is no universal answer, most are best served by being clear, open and honest in their communications with divorcing clients (and their attorneys).  Here’s one message that a financial professional might pass along to long-time clients divorcing after a 20 year marriage:

I understand that the two of you are going through a divorce.  During the process, either of you (or your attorneys) may need to get financial information or records from me.  Because the two of you have shared all your financial information openly with me during our relationship, I will continue to work from the perspective that there are no secrets between the two of you.  When I get a request for information from one of you, I will share the information with both parties and your attorneys.

If this is not acceptable, I need to get specific information about an alternative method of sharing information signed by either

1. both of you, or

2. the divorce court judge.

I will also inform all parties of any requests made to me to access money from any accounts which I administer for you.

Have a question for the professionals at AUC?  Feel welcome to submit it by email.  We may post your question and the answer as the question of the day.