National Association of Estate Planners and Councils

Code of Ethics

Preamble

The National Association of Estate Planners and Councils (NAEPC) is dedicated to setting and promoting standards of excellence for professionals in estate planning.

Membership in the Association comes from one of three sources. The first source of member is one who joins the NAEPC through membership in an affiliated local council. The second source of member is an at-large member who joins the NAEPC as an individual due to the local council being unaffiliated. The third source of member is an at-large member, one who is unaffiliated with a local council, whether or not the local group is not an affiliated member of the NAEPC.

To those who meet its stringent admission standards, which include, among other things, significant prior experience in estate planning activities and material formal education in the subject matter, the NAEPC confers the Accredited Estate Planner® (AEP®) designation.

The NAEPC recognizes the importance of promulgating a code of behavior for members that emphasizes a team approach to estate planning, and relies upon the competency, knowledge, professionalism, integrity, objectivity, and responsibility of each person qualifying as a candidate for certification.

In fulfillment of this mission, the Association's Board of Directors has adopted this Code of Professional Responsibility, which embodies the professional behavior expected of all NAEPC members, and which is consistent with the Codes of Ethics of the other gateway professional designations under which a member must conduct himself/herself.

That is, the NAEPC recognizes that those who attain the AEP® designation already possess other professional designations, such as Attorney at Law, Certified Public Accountant, Chartered Life Underwriter, Chartered Financial Consultant, Certified Financial Planner, and Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. Each of those gateway designations imposes a Code of Ethics on its members. The NAEPC intends that its Code of Ethics be consistent with those Codes already imposed on its members when the AEP® title is conferred.

Professional Responsibilities

A member of the NAEPC is required to conduct himself/herself at all times in the following manner:

  1. To uphold the integrity and honor of the profession and to encourage respect for it. This involves promoting the continual development of the estate planning industry, as well as the member's respective specialization.
  2. To be fair. This requires that a professional treat others as he/she would wish to be treated if in the other's position. It also means that a member shall disclose conflicts of interest in providing estate planning services.
  3. A member shall continually improve his/her knowledge, skill, and competence throughout his/her working life.
  4. To do the utmost to attain a distinguished record of professional service based upon diligence. This means that a professional must act with patience, timeliness, and consistency, and do so in a prompt and thorough manner in the service of others.
  5. To support the established institutions and organizations concerned with the integrity of his/her profession.
  6. To respect the confidentiality of any information entrusted to, or obtained in the course of, the member's business or professional activities.
  7. To regulate himself or herself. That is, every member has a two-fold duty to abide by his/her other applicable professional codes of ethics, and to also facilitate the enforcement of this Code of Professional Responsibility. This also means expeditiously reporting breaches of professional responsibility, including one's own, to the NAEPC. The NAEPC assumes responsibility for diligently investigating each reported breach. Confirmed Breaches will result in discipline by the Association, and can include dismissal for the most egregious offenses.
  8. To comply with all laws and regulations, in particular as they relate to professional and business activities.
  9. To cooperate with Association members, and other estate planning professionals, to enhance and maintain the estate planning profession's public image, and to work together to improve the quality of services rendered.