By Clifford Robison and Kyle Zwiren

Enhancing Your Client’s Estate

We are delivering a lunch and learn presentation in August. This article introduces the subject matter of our presentation. For more information and to attend, please see Clifford’s contact information at the bottom of this article.

It’s the phone call that none of us like to receive. As a trusted advisor in the business of helping people it is painful to hear about the coming demise of a dear client with whom we have built a relationship. When your client calls you and reports that they’ve just received a terminal diagnosis or have simply come to the realization that they should be making the move into assisted living, it’s a startling position to be in.

As they say, the three things that matter the most in this world are your health, your relationships and then… your wealth.

Certainly, we would hope they’ve been diligent in maintaining their affairs all along, but with newfound urgency it becomes a priority. Depending on your area of expertise as a trusted advisor, the pressing matters may include buttoning up the estate plan, finalizing a business succession, or positioning assets for favorable tax treatment.

Anytime a client seeks your advice, that is an opportunity to deepen the relationship. Although your client’s physician has opined that they don’t have much longer, it’s actually a tremendous opportunity to add value as long as you know what to do for them and who to refer them to next. It’s also an appropriate occasion to help the next generation and strengthen the relationship you have with their heirs. Once you’ve provided your own expertise, you can help your client consider how he or she has positioned her assets.

A Lifetime of Rebalancing

Despite the troubling news, every phase in life provides an opportunity to grow one’s wealth in a different way. In this last phase of life, we want to assure that as much as possible has been done and put in place to maximize the efficiency in which their financial legacy is passed on.

Traditionally, people refocus the goal of their investment portfolios throughout different stages of life. Earlier in a career, an investor has a long time-horizon and is often interested in growing wealth. Toward the end of someone’s working years the focus shifts to how they can enjoy the wealth they have grown: as we age, we are inclined to increase our areas of income and investment-protection. As mortality approaches, many of my clients express heightened concerns with safety and liquidity.

Because CDs and money markets focus on the near-term, they offer minimal growth. But there are alternative strategies that most people have not thought through which offer all of the characteristics. But knowing the right strategies in the last phase allows for you to add more value because the strategies usually present more growth, more income, and more protection than the current financial plan.

Never Lose a Client

At Financial Architects, we focus on finding efficiencies to enhance our clients’ wealth while minimizing risk. We have an internal mantra that we never want to lose a client. That means we must always be there as trusted advisors, helping our clients strategize their money decisions. Several years ago, our client review board told us their greatest threat was that our organization would no longer exist to serve the next generation. Our clients’ input alerted us that we needed to refocus our efforts to not only be there for them, but also for their children.

It is common that the next generation will not work with their parents’ advisors. There are a number of reasons why this occurs, but we strive to limit that atrophy. One way we do that is by repositioning a portion of our clients’ assets toward the end of their lives to provide enhanced income, and also provide a greater legacy. These meetings often occur with the client and their children, because their children may have Power of Attorney. It provides an opportunity to add value for the client and their beneficiaries, so we can work to never lose a client.

Want to Learn More?

We are presenting additional information on how you can enhance your role as trusted advisor to your client and their beneficiaries at our office later in August. We will explain investment opportunities for a client approaching mortality that also benefits their legacy. Please contact us to learn more about the presentation and to reserve a seat, as space is limited.

Clifford Robison is a Financial Architect who focuses on building and protecting his clients’ wealth. He has been a financial advisor for more than 20 years. Many of Clifford’s clients are in advanced ages and he counsels them and their next generation on financial management. Clifford Robison is a Registered Representative offering securities through The O.N. Equity Sales Company Member FINRA/SIPC 39395 W Twelve Mile Rd. Suite 102 Farmington Hills, MI 48331 (248) 482-3600. Investment Advisory Services offered through O.N. Investment Management Company. For more information about the lunch and learn presentation, please contact Clifford at 248-482-3600 or

Kyle Zwiren, J.D. works with Financial Architects, Inc., an independently-owned company located in Farmington Hills.  Kyle and his team serve attorneys and other professionals to help them design financial plans in line with their goals and based on optimal efficiency.  Kyle practiced law prior to becoming a Financial Architect and left the practice to follow his passion.

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