While proposed changes to the federal definition of an accredited investor seek to boost protection for investors participating in non-public offerings, financial advisors must approach the investments with vigilance, legal experts say.

Previous rules define an accredited investor as having a net worth of $1 million or more. But changes to the definition, in tandem with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, will exclude an investor's primary residence when tallying net worth.

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