You decide that it’s time to downsize your home. Your spouse passed away last year, all of your children moved out of the house long ago, and you do not need a large five-bedroom family home to yourself. You opt to sell it and buy a smaller home on a lake.

However, you do start thinking about what happens to the house after you pass away. This is the last home you plan to buy, and you want to set things up to move it smoothly on to the next generation. Then they can keep it, sell it, live in it or do whatever else they choose.

One option is to set up a trust while you are still alive and then use the trust to buy the home. Instead of you owning the house, you give ownership to the trust, and you then stipulate who takes control of the assets in the trust — including the house — upon your death. If you name one of your heirs, the house becomes theirs seamlessly.

Why do this? One reason is to keep it out of the public record. If you just leave the home to someone in a will, it is a public record, but a trust is not. A trust also keeps the house out of probate. This can save time and money for your heirs. They simply get the home with as little trouble as possible.

These are just a few of the many potential benefits of a trust. Make sure you know what steps to take to use one as part of your estate planning.