What Is the Main Difference Between A CPA and An Attorney?
An estate attorney is a type of lawyer who, through education and experience, has the knowledge to advise clients on getting their affairs organized to prepare for the possibility of disability and eventual death. Typically, attorneys are the only people who can legally prepare documents.
A CPA, or Certified Public Accountant, is someone who has been licensed by the state after completing state certification requirements in auditing and accounting. CPAs can do financial audits but cannot prepare legal documents like buy-sell agreements.
Benefits of Hiring an Estate Attorney Who is Also a CPA
Estate and trust planning, litigation, and administration often requires a high level of analysis and detail-oriented focus on accounting, tax laws, and asset valuations. Ordinarily, when estate matters require the need for both an accountant and an attorney, clients must pay for two different, high-priced professionals. An attorney would draft the necessary legal documents, while a CPA might work to address the financial accounting needs of a client. However, an attorney who is also a CPA possesses the knowledge and experience of both and can provide legal and financial perspectives associated with estate planning, litigation, and administration. This extra skill set can be beneficial to estate planning, litigation, or administration clients.
An Attorney-CPA can, in litigated matters, for example, prepare and/or analyze trusts and estate accountings that are in dispute as well as be able to conduct a forensic review of assets, income, and debts of an individual or an estate. This can also be helpful when reviewing the actions of a Power of Attorney who may have mismanaged or misappropriated someone else’s assets.
As another example, an Attorney-CPA can usually conduct an analysis of tax returns faster than most other attorneys. While estate planning attorneys must be familiar with the basics of the tax implications of each estate planning option, an attorney who is also a CPA has in-depth knowledge of tax laws and will therefore be able to assist with more complex estates. Estate and gift tax laws also change frequently, creating potential pitfalls for clients, but an attorney who is also a CPA may be more familiar with these laws and better able to assist in getting the maximum tax savings for your estate.
Work With Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC
We offer comprehensive estates and trust law services to individuals, including drafting customized wills and trusts, providing tax preparation and review, Medicaid planning, and the creation of special needs trusts.
Gerard F. Parisi, Esq. has an extensive background, both in estate law and tax law as a CPA, which is vital in advising clients when it comes to estate and trust planning, to help avoid the pitfalls and dangers involved when taking part in these processes. As an Attorney/CPA, he has unique knowledge of accounting, tax laws, asset valuations, and complex estates. This dual background can be especially beneficial for clients facing contested matters of trusts and estates which often involve detailed reviews of financial transactions and accounts.
Schedule a consultation with Attorney Parisi to discuss your estate needs today by calling us at (914) 228-7448.