Vanilla helps Mariner Wealth Advisors be at the forefront of estate planning

Mariner Wealth Advisors focuses on 360° advice designed to last, partnering with their clients to create a holistic financial strategy.  As one of the most preeminent players in the RIA space, estate planning is a key differentiator for their business, creating long-lasting relationships for advisors and their clients.  Vanilla has helped scale their estate planning practice by creating efficiencies and time savings for their advisors.

Mariner Wealth Advisors’s approach

It’s an exciting time to be an advisor at Mariner Wealth Advisors.  With 80+ offices located across the United States, 600 advisors, and over $100 billion in assets under advisement, the firm has become one of the preeminent players in the RIA space, and they don’t see their growth stopping anytime soon.  In addition to in-depth wealth planning, they strive to provide a diverse set of solutions for clients that include tax planning and preparation, investment management, estate planning, insurance and more.

Through their 360° planning process, advisors build relationships with their clients that often make them feel like a part of their families’ lives including invites to weddings and celebrations for births of children and grandchildren. As Cramer Soebbing, CFP®, ChFC®, Director and Senior Wealth Advisor, was told by one of his clients, “You’re part of the family now”.

Estate planning as differentiator

Knowing that client expectations are much different today than in the past where relationships with advisors were more transactional, Mariner Wealth Advisors approaches estate planning as a key differentiator for its business.  They created a practice management team where Scott Luhnau, a former practicing estate and tax attorney, is Vice President of Multi-Generational Wealth Planning.  Among other things, the firm’s practice management department provides wealth planning resources and support to advisors.  “At Mariner Wealth Advisors, we believe everyone deserves ongoing estate planning advice, and Vanilla helps our advisors develop the core skills that they need to have the right estate planning conversations with their clients,” said Scott.

The next evolution of estate planning with Vanilla

Before Vanilla, advisors in the financial services industry delivered estate planning by primarily poring over trust documents and inputting pertinent information into Excel spreadsheets.  However, with limited backgrounds in estate planning, many advisors would potentially avoid having these technical estate planning conversations with their clients, leaving a majority of them without a clear understanding of their estate plans.  In addition, many advisors didn’t have the time to try to decipher dense, legal documents.

For Mariner Wealth Advisors, this changed in 2021 when the firm adopted Vanilla to help scale their estate planning offering in an efficient and cost effective way.   Vanilla helps their advisors ensure their clients have the right strategy and documents.  The PDF deliverable that they share with their clients makes it easy to understand what is in their estate planning documents so they can make changes or updates, if necessary.

With the visual representations and layouts in Vanilla, advisors can more easily interpret their clients’ estate plans, leading to more frequent and educated conversations.  “Before Vanilla, it was grueling to go through an estate plan without visuals and then communicate it to our clients.  Vanilla has completely changed the narrative,” said Gillian Cassidy, Paraplanner.

Delivering results

Vanilla has been a game changer for Mariner Wealth Advisors, creating efficiencies and saving time for their advisors.  With the visual outputs, advisors can have more effective and educational discussions about details of the estate plan, which is more manageable than an Excel document.  Vanilla has also helped advisors win new business with prospects because they lead the conversations with estate planning and provide a deliverable that they can share.  “Vanilla has been such a value-add to my business. Without Vanilla, I’d go back to presenting Excel sheets to my clients,” said Soebbing.


Mariner Wealth Advisors (“MWA”) is an SEC registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in the State of Kansas. Registration of an investment adviser does not imply a certain level of skill or training.  For additional information about MWA, including fees and services, please contact MWA or refer to the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website ( Please read the disclosure statement carefully before you invest or send money.
MWA is a customer of Vanilla, and some advisors and executives at MWA have a passive, direct, or indirect minority financial interest in Vanilla.

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