Yes. If you’re part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community, a Living Trust offers protection for your estate, as well. It will completely eliminate a living probate, a death probate, and you can minimize or eliminate estate taxes. Further, it provides privacy from prying eyes.
Yes. The default in state law, called “intestacy,” is designed with married couples in mind. If a married couple dies without any estate plan, the survivor will get a good portion of the assets left behind. However, if you’ve not married, or you are in a state that does not recognize domestic partnership or civil union, your survivor would get nothing. Instead, the family of origin of the partner who died would get anything in that partner’s name, including bank accounts, real estate, etc.
Only your Will is a matter of public record. Your Revocable Living Trust and your Powers of Attorney are not public. Therefore, by using a Revocable Living Trust you can maintain the privacy of your wishes. Prying eyes of co-workers and neighbors will not have access to the details of your estate plan.