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The Special Needs Team

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Merrill lynch

The Special Needs Team

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Merrill Lynch
Wealth Management

Located in multiple offices throughout California, we are a deeply experienced team dedicated to improving the long-term well-being of society’s most vulnerable: people with disabilities, elderly individuals with dementia, accident victims, and other special-needs populations by offering financial advice and guidance.
Welcome

We are a dedicated group of financial advisors and client associates who work closely with other special-needs professionals and family members to improve the long-term well-being of individuals who are unable to care for themselves. Our work is more than a profession — it’s a passion. For decades we have focused on providing financial strategies to address the challenges and issues that you and your clients face.

We understand the implications of the Uniform Prudent Investment Act, California Probate Code, California Rules of the Court and National Guardianship Standards. We help professional advisors and family members institute investment standards through process-oriented investing that is well documented, regularly revisited, and clearly communicated.

Speak to us for a few minutes, and you may quickly perceive how we can help alleviate some key financial challenges that special-needs clients—and their support network—face. We have extensive experience collaborating with Private Professional Fiduciaries, Corporate Trustees, Estate Planning Attorneys, and Personal Injury Attorneys.

The Special Needs Team, when appropriate, works with other advisors for specific clients' situations. Three such people are:


Paul Bartschi

Vice President
Senior Financial Advisor
Paul_new.pngPaul Bartschi is a Senior Financial Advisor and Vice President at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Paul works closely with trust attorneys and fiduciaries in the Greater Los Angeles area, helping them better serve their clients by developing customized financial roadmaps that reflect each client’s unique needs and priorities. He is skilled in anticipating critical decision points in a client’s financial life, assembling the information and resources that facilitate informed analysis and cohesive tactics. A clear communicator, Paul enjoys unwinding complexity, assisting clients in developing a more purposeful path forward.

Paul began his wealth management career in 2001 at Morgan Stanley. Four years later, he moved to Merrill. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from California State University, Sacramento, and his M.B.A. with a concentration in Finance from California Lutheran University.

Paul lives in Camarillo, California, with his wife Sarah and their daughters, Ashley, Briana, and Isabella. A committed volunteer, Paul supports various charitable organizations and serves in his ecclesiastical leadership. He is a current board member and former chairman of the Boys and Girls Club of Camarillo. In his free time, he enjoys boating and motorcycle riding.



Craig Stone
Assistant Vice President
Senior Financial Advisor
Craig Stone Pic.jpgCraig Stone is an Assistant Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor with the Special Needs Team at Merrill. Craig works closely with clients to discern their priorities and long-term needs, helping them advance their goals through the close union of strategy, service, and purposeful action. A strong communicator, Craig works to enhance each client’s financial knowledge and comfort, maintaining regular contact to stay apprised of evolving interests amid dynamic conditions.


Craig has particular depth addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, including special-needs individuals, the elderly, and the disabled. He works closely with professional fiduciaries, trustees, estate planning attorneys, personal injury attorneys, and families, helping them anticipate client needs through modeling and planning, and then developing a clear path to address those long-term requirements. Committed to the well-being of each client, he offers in-depth knowledge of forecasting, backed by a robust understanding of the Uniform Prudent Investment Act and Probate Codes. Craig believes strongly in values of compassion and reliability, and is honored to support clients during both good and challenging times as they pursue a more secure financial future. He takes pride in helping clients pursue steady progress toward their goals and the attainment of meaningful milestones in their lives and legacies.  

Craig offers empathy and understanding for client families, grounded in his own upbringing and experience. His sister is autistic, and his mother taught special-needs children for more than 40 years. As a result, he brings first-hand knowledge of the challenges, public benefits, and planning questions that can arise, as well as a heartfelt appreciation for the ways that special-needs individuals lend greatness to a family.
 
Craig has worked at Merrill since 2012, providing him with in-depth knowledge of the firm’s capabilities and offerings. Previously, he served as an Advisor with New York Life. He earned his B.S. in Business Management Marketing from Sacramento State University.

Craig and his wife Rebecca live in Folsom, California, with their three children. In his free time, Craig enjoys golfing, spending time outdoors, and hosting barbecues with friends and family.

 

John Schoeppach, CRPC®
Senior Resident Director
Senior Vice President
John_new_5.pngJohn Schoeppach is a Senior Vice President and Senior Resident Director at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Headquartered in Folsom, California, John leads the team’s outreach within Sacramento, Northern California, and Nevada.

Closely attuned to the distinctive needs of special-needs, disabled, and elderly individuals, John develops tailored financial strategies designed to help promote their long-term financial security and well-being. He brings extensive knowledge of wealth strategy and investment management for Special Needs Trusts and other court-supervised trusts, as well as probate investing for Conservatorships and Guardianships.

John’s areas of focus also include California Probate Code restrictions on investments, as well as the terms of the Uniform Prudent Investor Act. Active in the community, John facilitates ongoing education for disability organizations, attorneys, professional fiduciaries, and CPAs.

John is a graduate of the United States Military Academy, West Point, and is a Retired Lieutenant Colonel and Airborne Ranger. He joined Merrill in 1991. In addition to his advisory responsibilities, John serves as Senior Resident Director, a leadership role within the firm. He holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ designation.

 

*CRPC® and Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM are registered service marks of the College for Financial Planning.

*Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.


Services for Private Professional Fiduciaries

We work closely with Private Professional Fiduciaries to promote the long-term well-being of beneficiaries through process-based investing and committed service.

We are skilled in the following areas:

  • Upholding the “prudent-investor” standard through rigorous wealth planning, a needs-based analysis that reflects the unique requirements of each client, and targeted risk levels and asset allocations based on those objectives, including risk tolerance, liquidity needs and time horizon.
  • Documenting the processes for the deployment and diversification of client assets, as well as regular performance analysis through formal reviews.
  • Developing tax-sensitive investment strategies, working in concert with your CPA, as appropriate.*
*Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

Services for Estate Planning Attorneys

We help estate planning attorneys mediate conflicts among family members, drawing on our extensive knowledge of successor trusteeship and sub-trust issues.

Through customized financial strategies, we provide a rational process for balancing the needs of current and remainder beneficiaries, and promote the timely resolution of disputes among litigating parties.

We are skilled in the following areas:

  • Helping to mediate conflicts between family members by integrating long-term financial analysis and wealth management planning into decision-making frameworks
  • Serving as a neutral third-party that offers a documented process for evaluating financial decisions using quantitative analysis and fact-based market conditions
  • Creating detailed scenario analyses and “what if” frameworks that can help litigants move toward timely resolutions of disputes
  • Analyzing existing investment strategies relative to risk tolerance, liquidity needs, objectives, and time horizon.
  • Developing tax-sensitive investment strategies with documented processes for investment evaluation, selection, and tracking

Services for Personal Injury Attorneys

We help personal injury attorneys analyze and anticipate the long-term financial needs of their clients, with the goal of promoting a continuum of care that is thoroughly researched and thoughtfully derived.

Through customized financial strategies, we can help contribute to fact-based settlement planning, grounding our analysis in the unique long-range needs of each client and the distinct characteristics of various settlement instruments.

We are skilled in the following areas:

  • Creating detailed scenario analyses that evaluate the long-range needs of a plaintiff relative to the risk, fee, and return characteristics of various settlement options
  • Serving as a neutral third-party that offers a documented process for evaluating financial decisions using quantitative analysis and fact-based market conditions
  • Developing tax-sensitive investment strategies with documented processes for investment evaluation, selection, and tracking*
*Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

 

Services for Families with a Special Needs Loved One

We intimately understand the challenges and issues that families face in pursuing a more secure financial future for children, parents, siblings, or other loved ones.

We believe our strength in this area is demonstrated in the following ways:

  • Our extensive experience. Our team’s founder, Scott MacDonald, has spent more than 30 years addressing the unique needs of the clients we serve. Our advisors and associates are deeply immersed in the intricacies and insights that distinguish our service model.
  • Our focus. We exclusively support special-needs, accident-victim, and elder-care populations. We believe this concentration has intensified our ability to inform, educate, and advise the families we serve.
  • Our effective collaboration with a family’s external advisory team, including private professional trustees, attorneys, care managers, benefits counselors, and other client advocates.
  • Our long-term support of the Society for disABILITIES, ARC of San Francisco, Parents Helping Parents, Down Syndrome Information Alliance, and many other community organizations.
  • The intellectual capital we contribute through industry articles and presentations.
  • We understand the implications of the Uniform Prudent Investment Act, California Probate Code, California Rules of the Court and National Guardianship Standards. We have helped families implement investment standards through process-oriented investing that is well documented, regularly revisited, and clearly communicated.


How we can help:

  • Applying our understanding of the intricacies of conservatorships, guardianships, special needs trusts and other court-supervised accounts.
  • Conducting rigorous wealth planning, a needs-based analysis that reflects the unique requirements of each client, and targeted risk levels and asset allocations based on those objectives.
  • Documenting the processes for the deployment and diversification of client assets, as well as ongoing performance analysis through formal reviews.
  • Developing tax-sensitive investment strategies with documented processes for investment evaluation, selection, and monitoring.*

Meet the Team

Supported by the global resources of Merrill, our team is comprised of talented and experienced individuals committed to building strong client relationships based on trust and personalized service.

Your Financial Approach

We offer you access to the investing insights of Merrill, trust and fiduciary services from Bank of America Private Bank, and the banking convenience of Bank of America to help you pursue your goals. We will work to help you stay on track, regardless of what the markets are doing.

FAMILY
Taking care of your family and other people in your life
  • Trust & Estate Planning Services4
  • Education Funding1
  • Insurance3
HEALTH
Planning for healthcare expenses now and in the future
  • Long-term Care Insurance3
  • Health Savings Account2
  • Disability Insurance3
HOME
Upsizing, downsizing, remodeling or buying a vacation home
  • Home Loans2
  • Home Equity Lines of Credit2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Credit Cards2
WORK
Working in retirement, selling or starting a business
  • Bank of America Business Banking2
  • Exchange Funds1
  • Concentrated Stock Management1
  • Succession Planning1
LEISURE
Spending your free time in meaningful ways
  • Credit Cards2
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Structured Lending2
GIVING
Volunteering, mentoring others and giving to charities
  • Donor-Advised Funds4
  • Private Foundations4
  • Charitable Trusts4
FINANCE
Using your finances to bring it all together
  • Merrill Investment Accounts1
  • Investment Advisory Accounts1
  • Alternative Investments1
  • Exchange-Traded Funds1
  • Mutual Funds1
  • Closed-end Funds1
  • Fixed Income Products1
  • Options1
  • Annuities3
  • Impact Portfolios1
  • Market-Linked Investments1
  • Securities-Based Lending2
  • Margin1
  • Home Loans2
  • Bank of America Checking and Savings Accounts2
  • Credit Cards2
  • Online Account Access1,2

1 Investment products are offered by Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated.
2 Banking, mortgage and home equity products offered by Bank of America, N.A.
3 Insurance and annuity products offered through Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc.
4 Trust and fiduciary services are provided by Bank of America Private Bank.

Staying on Track

We understand that both your life and the financial markets can change over time. By periodically checking in to discuss changes in your life and revisiting your financial approach, our goal is to help you stay on track to achieve what's most important to you.


Periodic reviews to help you
stay on track

We’ll meet with you to review your goals and the progress you’ve made toward reaching them. We’ll also discuss any adjustments needed to your financial approach to help you stay on course.


    Monitoring changes in your life
    and to your goals

    Your life and goals change. As these changes occur, we can update your approach to reflect them.

    Wealth Management Your Way

    MyMerrill is your online destination for access to your financial information, secure communications, and a robust offering of tools and capabilities.

    Your advisor is a click away within our site or mobile apps

    You can manage account security with our customizable security capabilities such as touch ID, one time passcode, and other security features

    Access to your complete financial life is available with My Financial Picture, Merrill’s asset aggregation tool

      Let’s Have a Conversation

      Helping you reach your goals starts with getting to know you personally. Through understanding what matters most to you, together we can help you create a financial approach that reflects your personality. Only then can we offer an approach that is built around your life priorities and the advice you need to help you address fluctuations in the market and changes in your life. Let’s work together to help you achieve your goals.

      Why Merrill?

      As Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisors, we will sort through the financial
      complexities of your life, helping you build a customized investment approach to address your needs and pursue your goals.


      Merrill_Capabilities_Brochure.png  

      We put you first, every day.
      Learn more about the dedicated one-on-one relationship you can have with a Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor.

      Personalized advice from a dedicated financial advisor.

      We get to know you and your family, your financial situation and what matters most to you.

      A comprehensive approach, built around your life’s priorities.

      Drawing from our experience and the best thinking of Merrill, together we will design an approach that reflects your unique needs, priorities and financial situation.

      Adjusting your investment approach as your life and the markets change.

      We will work to help you stay on track, regardless of what the markets are doing.