When advisors are working closely with clients to help them reach their goals, things can sometimes get quite personal.

Merrill Lynch advisor Stephen Stabile experienced this when he worked with a couple who had a special-needs child. "We had a great relationship with this wonderful client," Stabile says, but it turned out his group had no knowledge of the clients' family situation, partly because they were reluctant to talk about it, even though planning for their child was so overwhelmingly important to them.

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