A living trust is one way to manage your property. You get the full benefits while you are alive, and your "successor trustee" can manage your property for you if you become incapacitated. If properly funded, a living trust also lets you pass your property to your loved ones (or charities) after your death without having to go to probate.
A living trust is set up during your life. Certain property is transferred into the trust while you are still living. After you die, the property can be transferred to your beneficiaries without probate.
Remember, a living trust only covers the property put into it. A "pour-over will" should always accompany a living trust. A pour-over will is a legal document that makes sure your remaining assets automatically transfer to a trust you set up. If the pour-over will is invoked, you still need probate.