Thursday, April 18, 2024

Partner Noel Di Carlo drafted a letter on behalf of The Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts in opposition to the proposed Financial Crimes Enforcement Networks (FinCEN) regulations that, if approved, will have a significant economic impact on real estate and estate planning attorneys and violate our ethical obligations as attorneys.
These regulations require extensive information gathering and reporting on ANY transfer (regardless of whether it is for nominal consideration or not) into any entity (LLCs trusts, etc). Requiring attorneys to disclose to regulators client information, including the identity and beneficial ownership of their clients, or to report information about their clients’ residential real estate transactions would violate attorney-client confidentiality among other ethical issues. She argued that attorneys should therefore be exempt from the regulations. In the event that attorneys are not exempt we proposed revisions to the regulations.
While she understands the need of FinCEN to monitor real estate transactions that have been used as a vehicle for money laundering, the proposed regulations are overly burdensome, redundant, costly and would propose to regulate the practice of law, which we believe is outside of their authority.

The letter supported letters submitted by the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) who voiced similar concerns. She remains hopeful that these important matters are taken into consideration in the revised regulations.

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