Topic: Estate & Succession Planning – Financial Planning

Case study

Sonya (58) and Charles (61) are a married couple with two children: Peter (27) and Carly (29).
Charles has a daughter, Marie (36), from a previous relationship.

Charles has an engineering business that manufactures components used in mining. The business is held in a family trust. He started that business 25 years ago. Marie started working in the business when she was at university studying mechanical engineering. She is now in charge of product innovation in the business and has developed some unique components over which the business has a trademark, and which now generates well over half of the business’s income. The business operates out of a property that Charles bought at the time he started the business. Marie is very well respected in the mining engineering industry and Charles would like her to take over the company at the appropriate time. Peter and Carly have no interest at all in the business and find it very boring.

Sonya works part-time in the business two days per week but leaves all management of the business to Charles. Charles also manages all their personal finances.

Sonya and Charles live in a house they inherited from Sonya’s father. They are planning to buy a new home to live in and Sonya intends to sell her house and contribute the sales towards their new home. She expects to have net proceeds of $1.1 million from the sale. Their new home will cost approximately $1.8 million. Charles will contribute $250,000 that he has in savings and they will borrow the balance.

Peter is married to Sharon and they have a four-year-old daughter. Peter is employed by the local council and Sharon is a paralegal. Charles is aware that Peter and Sharon live week-to-week and struggle to make ends meet. He is also aware that Peter enjoys the racetrack and is concerned that his gambling is out of control.

Carly, a successful doctor with her own practice, is married to Brydon who works as a computer analyst. They don’t have any children. Their marriage has been in difficulty due to Brydon’s extravagant lifestyle.

Sonya and Charles have been very busy since their wedding and have not updated their wills or any other personal administration. Charles recalls completing a death benefit nomination some time ago and thinks that it nominates his three children in equal parts.

Sonya and Charles would like to retire in the next two to three years. At the forefront of Charles’s mind is ensuring an efficient handover of the business. Neither have given much thought to retirement or their superannuation, although Sonya seems to recall that she has some life insurance in her fund from when she first joined 30 years ago.


You have received a phone call from Charles who has requested that you meet with him and Sonya to discuss their estate planning and business succession needs. In order to meet your best interests duty, you must make enquiries into all aspects of the information available to you before finalising your proposed strategies and product recommendations.

Question 1: Discussion, analysis and questions       (90 marks | Word limit: 3,500 words)

Using the case study, analyse Sonya and Charles’s estate planning and business succession risks and needs.

  1. Identify and separate seven (7) or more estate and succession planning risks and issues into sections (using headings). Appropriate headings would be the key areas of their estate and business succession needs.
  2. Present your answer by using each heading to provide a discussion of your analysis along with possible strategies to meet their needs.
  3. Use your analysis to develop a list of questions that you would ask Sonya and Charles. Your answer should be presented as a heading and discussion, followed by the list of six (6) or more questions you would ask.

Type of assignment: Research paper

Subject: Finance


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