Does a will avoid probate?

No. When you die, you have two types of assets. Assets that already tell us where they go, through things like a beneficiary designation, joint ownership or ownership in trust. Any asset that does not tell us where it goes at your death, goes by default to your estate. A will is the set of instructions for probate that direct how you want your estate to be distributed after death. A will helps to ensure your wishes are followed and oftentimes makes the probate process easier, especially if your circumstances are unique. A will is part of any complete estate plan, whether or not you want to avoid probate.