Everyone thinks a will provides for the future of their loved ones. But a will means probate court plays a role in dividing your assets in ways that may not follow your wishes.

That is why you also should consider establishing a revocable living trust. A trust gives you more control over your estate.

Why avoiding probate makes sense

If you have a will, your estate goes through probate court. The process often is lengthy, costly and delays the distribution of your assets.

Under probate, you risk a judge dividing some of your estate. This can happen when there are no living beneficiaries on your life insurance policy or retirement account. The court also may divide other property, such as your banking accounts or works of art. The court uses your will as a guideline, which leaves your final wishes open to a judge’s rulings.

Why a revocable living trust makes sense

A revocable living trust means bypassing probate court and its pitfalls. Under its terms, you have much more control through your chosen trustee. You can, for instance, decide your children will not inherit assets until they reach a certain age. Or you can set aside money for their weddings or education. It is up to you – not a judge.

Trusts also provide tax advantages when compared to wills. Among them is reducing federal and state estate taxes.

Trusts, contrary to popular belief, are not only for the rich. They are a useful tool for anyone who wants to assure control of their assets after they die.

Making sense of your future

Think of a will as a document that names the executor of your estate and guardianship for your children. A revocable living trust does much more in securing your loved ones’ future.

Your goal is peace of mind for both yourself and the people who inherit your assets. That is why you should consider all your estate planning options.