This article from Daily Finance details the benefits of having a trust rather than a will, with the late Robin Williams as an example.
“Despite having a wealth of advisers, many wealthy entertainers fail to prepare adequately to handle the transfer of their real wealth after their death. Williams, however, apparently used at least one revocable trust for the primary portion of his estate planning, and that will likely be adequate to avoid some of the complications and tax liabilities that other celebrities’ families have had to endure.
Most people think of wills as the basic must-have estate-planning document. But for those in the public eye, the downside of using a will as your primary document is that it’s subject to the probate process, which invites public scrutiny of court-filed records. Especially in California, where Williams lived, the probate process is notorious for being long and arduous.
By contrast, revocable trusts enable people to arrange for the disposition of their assets after death without any involvement from a probate court. And, the public has no right to see the trust document. It’s possible that we’ll never know for sure what any trust that Williams created said. Because trusts keep personal business out of the public eye, even family members who disagree with each other can choose to resolve disputes privately, if they choose. That can avoid the negative publicity of will contests and keep arguments from escalating.”