Carol and David MacDonald, a bright young professional couple with their first child on the way, are promising new clients for you. You believe that if you hit it off, they could be clients for life.
Carol is a doctor and she has finally completed the years of study and training necessary to enable her to enter general practice. She has been working at a local clinic close to home for the past two years and is quite confident that, should all go to plan, she will eventually be invited to join the partnership. Given the flexibility of her work, Carol anticipates returning to the clinic on a part-time basis about six months after the baby is born.
David is quite a bit older than Carol and has been a partner in a medium-sized accounting firm for some time now. He has an eight-year-old son, Bill, from a previous marriage which ended rather bitterly. As a result of his divorce, he has significant borrowings necessary to fund his property settlement. His only assets are now his interest in his accounting practice (he owns the goodwill in the practice personally and his share of the plant and equipment through a discretionary trust which he controls solely), some superannuation (a portion of which has been ‘split’ with his former wife as part of their financial settlement), and the family home that he and Carol share, that is mortgaged to about 80 per cent of its value. He also controls a trust, funded by an advance of his inheritance from his parents that he uses to fund his child support payments. In compliance with s 102AG of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth), the capital of this trust is fixed for the benefit of his son.
Carol has some savings from her years of working and she has just purchased an investment property with the inheritance she received from her parents. (She completed the purchase of the property before she and David came to meet with you and she owns the property personally.)
They have come to you with the objective of growing their wealth to ensure that their debt levels are reduced in the long term and they have sufficient funding to ensure that their needs and, most importantly, the needs of their children, are met. Ideally, they would like to be able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without both having to work full-time. Rather, they would prefer that one of them could be home with their children for part of each working week.
As Carol and David are new clients, you raise the issue of estate planning with them and, in analysing their objectives, you discover that David’s key objective is to ensure that Carol and their new baby are fully provided for in the event of his death. He feels very strongly that his former wife and his son, Bill, have been more than adequately provided for via his property settlement and the child support trust for his son. He is therefore keen to ensure that his former wife cannot overthrow any arrangements he establishes for the benefit of Carol and his new child. Similarly, Carol would like to ensure that David benefits from her assets, and not his former wife or his son, Bill.
Given their respective occupations, both of them are also concerned to ensure that their joint assets are protected as far as possible from any potential litigants.
Before finalising their funding and investment strategy, you suggest to David and Carol that it would be wise for them to establish an estate plan, and they subsequently instruct you to prepare an estate plan for them. Your aim is to preserve and enhance the value of David and Carol’s estate and to avoid adverse consequences for their intended beneficiaries.
Draft an estate plan for the MacDonald family, following the estate planning process:
• Client Objectives
• Client Circumstances
• Recommended Strategies
To assist you in preparing your report, you should address the following issues:
Ensure that all stated goals/objectives, concerns and issues are identified.
Make recommendations to address all of their goals/objectives and concerns, with an appropriate strategy. Your recommendations must be explained and justified.
You are not required to provide a complete Statement of Advice (SOA) to answer this question however you are required to provide comprehensive advice to the clients as to how to address all of their goals and concerns in relation to their estate planning only.
Any such assumptions must be realistic and have a reasonable basis which is clearly explained. These assumptions must be stated at the beginning of your response to this question.
Keep your estate plan to a maximum of 10 pages.
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