The main advantage to using a trust is that a trust helps to avoid probate. Probate is the court process though which assets are transferred and debts are paid off. The process can be very expensive and can take a long time. There are some other advantages as well. They include: A trust has the ability to cover things that a will can't cover. Examples include retirement accounts, jointly owned property and life insurance policies. A will becomes public after the property owner dies. However, a trust stays private. Only the beneficiaries and the trustee are informed of the trust. A trust can be more flexible than a will. This helps those who have complicated relationships and need a complicated estate plan. For example, a husband in a second marriage might want his current wife to be able to live in their house before his interest passes to his children from his first marriage. A trust doesn't have to transfer all the property at once, instead in can transfer property over time. A parent could set up a trust to take care of the bills of an adult child with special needs without burdening their child with a lump payment. Similarly, parents of young children or young adults may want to provide payments monthly or yearly until the children become mature enough to handle their own money. Some trusts can be designed to reduce estate taxes. However, most estate taxes affect only the very rich.