Revocable living trusts have gotten a bad name from those years where you could attend a seminar about the horrors of probate and end up with a bunch of form documents in a lovely fake leather binder with a bill for $2,500 or more without actually having done yourself any good.  Most of the time the folks selling you all that paper forgot that you must transfer assets into a trust for it to control anything.  I have probated a number of wills in court because the revocable living trust was never funded.

The truth is that revocable living trusts have a place in estate planning.  Even if probate is not actually horrible, a revocable living trust can indeed avoid the cost and time delay of probating a will.  They are also excellent instruments for avoiding probate in the states where you might own a vacation house, or where Uncle Frank left you that piece of scrub woods on a slope you have always been meaning to sell.

Revocable living trusts are a good way to distribute property where there is a second marriage.  The assets each member of the couple brought to the marriage can stay in the original family because they are identified and placed in the appropriate trust on the front end.  That might lead to quite a lot less strife when the last member of the couple dies.

What revocable living trusts do not do well is shield assets when someone has to apply for needs based benefits like VA benefits and TennCare long term care benefits.  An irrevocable trust is the best testamentary instrument for that.