You don't have to be a television, movie or music legend in Los Angeles to want control over inheritances you leave for heirs. If you think your estate plan is fine without a trust, you might be right. Then again, you might be missing something.
The parents of baby boomers have reached an advanced age. The children of the World War II generation are baby boomers. Members of the country's largest-ever generation were born between 1946 and 1964, which means some Los Angeles boomers are already grandparents living in retirement.
California parents who keep contents of their estate plans confidential aren't doing heirs any favors. Children can be disappointed, and sometimes angered to the point of litigation, by making assumptions about inheritances or roles as fiduciaries.
Last year at this time, Los Angeles estate planning attorneys were concerned about protecting clients' assets from potentially high taxes. Fears that the IRS tax-free part of an estate would drop from above $5 million to $1 million were unfounded. Federal estate taxes did rise to 40 percent but not to 55 percent as was predicted.
A Los Angeles parent with adult children is incapacitated by severe illness. The children are uncertain whether estate planning documents exist, including powers of attorney that permit someone to manage the parent's finances or health care decisions. The children don't know whether the parent has made a will or where to begin looking for one.