A living trust, or a revocable living trust, is not all that different from a will. However, it does do some things that it is impossible for a will to do. Specifically, the trust can be utilized before you pass away, whereas a will does not kick in until your death.
There are a few reasons these are used. For example, you may become disabled as you grow older. You want to do things like distributing your estate or managing the assets that you have, but the disability could make this impossible. By using the trust to pass this responsibility on to someone else, you make sure that your desires are carried out during your lifetime; people don't have to wait until you pass away to do what is needed.
These can also be used if you become ill or if simple aging takes its toll and makes working with your assets more difficult.
Most living trusts are going to be revokable, so you're not locked into anything. They are just a safety line in case you suddenly need them. If you decide you want to update the regulations and make changes, you can do it whenever you want. You may decide to do this if there is a major change to your estate or a change in your relationship with the people named in the living trust.
You can also have a living trust and a will at the same time.
You must know all of your options for estate planning, and it's also good to know how different tactics can be used together for optimal results in California.
Source: American Bar Association, "What is a Revocable Living Trust?," accessed June 26, 2015