Clients with family members with a special need, be it developmental, physical, cognitive or a mental illness, make up a significant number of clients, but the majority of advisors are not serving them, said Mary Anne Ehlert, a financial advisor and founder of special needs advocacy firm, Protected Tomorrows.

In fact, only a very small number of advisors understand the issues related to special needs well enough to do so, Ehlert said at her session, The Clients You Don't Know You Have at the FPA annual conference in San Antonio, Texas.

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