Estate plans contain several different important documents, each designed to ensure that your estate is secure and your family’s future and legacy is in good hands. While many people use wills to list their assets and inheritors, trusts can be just as effective.

If you are considering using a trust in your estate plan, here are just three benefits that come with creating a trust.

Avoid probate

When you leave your assets in a will, each item must go through probate court. Probate can last months, and the costs can add up quickly. In addition, probate can cause undue stress on your family members. It can sometimes even leave space for family disputes and tension.

Assets in a trust, on the other hand, can skip probate altogether and go straight to the beneficiaries, saving your family time and money. You might consider placing more valuable items in a trust, like life insurance, real estate and savings accounts.

Maintain privacy

The contents of a will become public when assets pass through probate. If you would rather keep the contents of your estate private, a trust enables you to do so. Placing your assets in a trust can help protect your family — and your estate — from the prying eyes of the public. Strangers won’t be privy to what assets you owned and which family members own them now.

Plan for the unexpected

Trusts allow you to plan for life as well as death. Should you become incapacitated later in life, leaving your assets and instructions in a trust lets you maintain control over your estate, even when you may no longer be sound enough to manage it yourself.

Should mental illness or old age prevent you from making decisions, a successor trustee selected by you will take over and carry out the terms of your trust to ensure that your beneficiaries receive their inheritances.

Get help with your estate planning needs

While a trust does offer many benefits, it can be a complex document that often requires the guidance of an attorney. Someone who has experience in creating trusts can help you draft a plan that will benefit you and your family for years to come.