Serving Clients With Special Needs

Tab 1

August 05, 2016

When approached about helping an 18-year-old quadriplegic trust client of The Private Client Reserve purchase a home, Patience Felt suspected that the task might present a number of challenges, but she was happy to take on the assignment.


“It’s a privilege to be able to help all of our clients with their goals, and this opportunity was particularly gratifying,” says Felt, Assistant Vice President of Real Estate Asset Management at U.S. Bank.


Felt was first introduced to the client in 2009 when the trust office directed her to buy a house for the client and his family. The young client was involved in a traffic accident at age 6, which left him paralyzed from the neck down.


Reserve Personal Trust Relationship Manager Thomas Raisbeck recalls that the client was awarded a Special Needs Trust from a lawsuit, and U.S. Bank was appointed trustee of the fund. 

The client’s family then used the money to buy a house in the northwest suburbs of Minneapolis and pay for additional services for their son. “We did a renovation on the home,” Felt says. “We hired an accessibility company to design a bedroom, track system, nurses’ station and handicap accessibility in the driveway.”


The family lived in that home until 2015, when the young man decided he wanted more independence and a place he could call his own.

Tab 2

August 05, 2016

At first, he wanted to buy a townhome in the suburbs. “Many disabled-accessible homes in the Twin Cities suburbs are targeted toward the 55-plus community,” Felt explains. “When our client started looking at suburban developments, he realized that he wanted to be part of a more energetic environment. When we showed him downtown Minneapolis condos, he lit up with excitement and said that this was the place he wanted to live.”


The search process wasn’t always easy, and it took four hours to look at one or two locations.


Not all the potential homes were disabled-accessible, so the team had to think on its feet to identify necessary adjustments that would need to be made to make it possible for the client to tour the homes.

For instance, the team brought ramps with them on house tours, just in case there were steps in the home. Sometimes, they conducted tours over the phone.


Despite the challenges, Felt and her team found a loft-style condo that met all the client’s needs. Located in downtown Minneapolis, the condo was close to a hospital, freeways and restaurants and could be easily modified to suit the client’s lifestyle.


“We were able to help this client in ways we didn’t expect,” Raisbeck says. “We are truly pleased to see him genuinely happy.”


“Interacting with clients who face diverse challenges and are still able to work toward their goals makes our jobs extremely worthwhile,” Felt adds. “This client understands that life is challenging for him in ways it may not be for others, but he’s a bubbly and charismatic person, and it’s rewarding to work with him.”

Tab 3

August 05, 2016

The Reserve takes this same thorough, personal approach with all its clients, including those with special needs.


Depending on what a client needs, teams can be accountable for multiple entities — including health care organizations, caregivers and interactions with the state — Reserve team members set strict budgets for client funds that they use to pay vendors and contractors, and they make sure all vendors and contractors are licensed and insured.

Most importantly, team members work to help ensure clients are satisfied with the services they receive. 


“It’s a pleasure to work with clients in the special needs community because our approach to personal service, which is custom-designed to meet specific needs, takes on a new meaning,” Felt says. “Helping all of our clients is fulfilling, but there is something different in this case — we are all challenged a little differently, and when we succeed, it’s all the more rewarding.”


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