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  • Neil Mahoney

How To Find The Right Financial Advisor For Families With Special Needs Children

Money and finances are personal.

The personal element becomes even more true when talking about financial planning for families with special needs children.


When working with a financial advisor, you always want to find the right fit. Because of the nuances and complexities associated with planning for special needs children, it becomes even more critical to find the right fit.


In this article, we share several questions to ask yourself (or the advisor) to find the right financial advisor for families with special needs children.

Does The Advisor Specialize In Working With Families With Special Needs or Disabilities?

There are a lot of specialized financial planning considerations that come up for special needs families. When working with an advisor that has such a niche or speciality, you can feel confident that they have the expertise necessary for your situation.


This can provide a sense of trust and peace of mind that is critically important, especially when most families already have so many other hurdles to work through outside of financial matters.


At ABW Wealth Advisors, we integrate special needs planning issues into your overall financial plan. In addition, we collaborate with your attorney who will prepare legal documents like Guardianship, Wills, Special Needs Trusts, etc.


While all areas of financial planning need to be addressed, any advisor that works with a family with a special needs child should discuss these areas (at a bare minimum):

How Will You Pay And Are There Any Minimum Requirements?

There are many different ways that financial advisors charge their clients for their services. Some firms are hourly, fee-based, fee-only, flat-fee, assets under management (AUM), complexity-based, or commission-based. This range in ways to charge is important to understand as a client.


The goal is to try to find a fee-structure that you understand and that aligns with putting the client first. In our view, fee-only is the pricing structure that makes the most sense for consumers.


At ABW Wealth Advisors, we have transparent, fee-only pricing and receive no sales commissions. We charge a flat fee for our OnTrack Strategy Session, our financial plan, and special needs plan creation services. These services are available with no minimum investment required.


For investment management services, our fee is based on assets under management (AUM). Our wealth management service package does have a minimum investment of $2 million.

Is The Financial Advisor A Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more other parties.


Working with a fiduciary is critically important. This is especially true because of the sensitive nature of making sure that your special needs child is being taken care of.


According to the CFP Board, a fiduciary upholds the following standards:


  • Act in the best interest of the client

  • Place the interest of the client above the advisor and the advisor’s firm

  • Avoid conflicts of interests or fully disclose any conflicts of interests

  • Act with the care, skill, prudence, and diligence that a prudent professional would exercise in light of the client’s goals, risk tolerance, objectives, and financial and personal circumstances

  • Comply with all objectives, policies, restrictions, and other terms of the engagement and all reasonable and lawful directions of the client


At ABW Wealth Advisors, we are sworn fiduciaries and give advice only in your best interest. Furthermore, because we are Certified Financial Planner professionals, we are upheld by the standards noted above by the CFP Board.

We’re Here to Help

At ABW Wealth Advisors, we believe that wise stewardship of money leads to a better quality of life for your family. We want to improve your life by managing your finances related to your families’ goals and needs. We help special needs families and the wider disability community prosper.


If you’d like to know more about our services and how we can help you and your family deal with the challenges of having a disability, schedule a “Break the Ice Introductory Call”.


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