HIgH net wortH
duplicate monthly statements sent to
a trusted family member or perhaps
your client’s CPA — anyone other than
the agent under the client’s power of
attorney (or trustee under the client’s
If a client is elderly or has health
issues, encourage a periodic evaluation
by an independent care manager whose
report can be circulated to key family
members and the planning team. This
might be done once a year if the health
or cognitive concerns are still minimal.
Use an institutional co-trustee on
trusts. There is no shortage of high-quality institutions that can serve as
administrative trustees, enabling the
advisor to continue to manage a client’s wealth. Inserting an institutional
trustee, even in a mere administrative
capacity, brings another layer of independence to the team.
Help the client to simplify and organize all of his or her financial and legal
affairs. It is common to have an estate
planning meeting in which a wealth
manager who thought he was managing all the client’s investment assets discovers that there are a half-dozen other
accounts he hadn’t been told about.
Even if a client insists on working
with several advisors, everyone should
be involved and have the big picture.
Ideally, a client should consolidate.
Bills and credit cards should be
shifted to auto-pay and deposits made
automatically, to the extent feasible.
Have clienta sign up for a credit monitoring or fraud detection service. Suggest a
client use a post office box to minimize
the risk that someone will tamper with
his or her mail.
While these steps may be obvious
to some advisors, too often clients at
risk simply don’t take them, since they
view themselves as in control.
Martin M. Shenkman, CPA, PFS, JD,
is a Financial Planning contributing
writer and an estate planner in Paramus, N.J. He runs laweasy.com, a free