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Rowling & Associates Blog

And Then Came the Wolves

by Juan Aguilar

Ever wonder what could happen if you received a major financial windfall? Read more to find out!

The Situation

A client of ours received a major financial windfall last year. The client’s family had created a legacy of charitable giving and this would be the 3rd generation to continue the family legacy. We had been working with our client for several years, meticulously planning, and had a rough idea of the potential size of his inheritance. The time came and our client was on track to receive his inheritance as was expected all along. What we did not expect was how difficult it would be to actually place the funds into our client’s possession.

The Wolves

We had spent several years working with our client, preparing him for the day that he and his wife would receive their major financial windfall. And then the wolves came.

Our client was coerced into believing that his mother had chosen a large national commercial bank, estate attorney, CPAs, and advisors who would help with the transfer of wealth. What we later found out was that the entire team had carefully orchestrated a well-thought out plan to pull our client’s heartstrings into believing they were looking out for his best interests.

After careful discovery, we learned that one such advisor had placed our client’s family into commission-based investment products (loaded funds) that paid that advisor hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions alone. In addition to those investments, the same advisor placed our client’s family into obscure investments that defaulted more times than they prevailed. The CPAs would go golfing with other advisors, sharing sensitive client information with each other, and the estate attorney was working for the national bank that was orchestrating the entire ordeal.

Unfortunately, this team approached our client during a time of weakness, when our client’s family member had recently passed away. Our client stated they placed several documents in front of him to sign and that everything felt rushed.

The Resolution

When we found out exactly what was happening, we spoke to our client and immediately hit the brakes. Not only had this same group taken advantage of his family for several years, but they did not want to let go of their malicious intent so easily. Plans to sell our client’s concentrated stock position, wiping nearly 1/3 in gains, was part of their agenda as well as adding hidden fees to proprietary investment pools that our client would be placed in.

Once our client knew what was happening, he could not sleep and was filled with stress and anxiety. Luckily, we took the initiative to fly to his hometown several times to speak with this team face-to-face. We also spent countless hours researching and helping track every movement of funds that the bank had already started.

It took us nearly a year, as well as a team of carefully chosen advisors, CPAs, and estate attorneys, to turn the entire situation around. It also took over a hundred thousand dollars in attorney fees that our client had to pay to finally get the bank to back off.

In the end, it all worked out and our client finally received his inheritance. We are now at the planning stages with him and his wife. They plan to continue their charitable giving legacy for generations to come.

The Takeaway

If you, like our client, are on track to receive a major financial windfall, it is important to be aware that the wolves are out there, and they will try their hardest to take from what is rightfully yours. Don’t let them! Choose your own team of fiduciary financial advisors you trust to help facilitate the transfer of your inheritance. It is always best to work with fiduciaries, as these professionals are legally obligated to always work in your best interest.

As our client learned the hard way, teams like this will approach when you are weak. Don’t let them pressure you into signing anything without consulting your own financial team. Awareness is the first step to protecting your inheritance. The wolves will always be out there, but with knowledge and careful planning, you can avoid them.