Question: Does Having a Will Mean You Avoid Probate? Answer: No, almost by definition, a Last Will & Testament implies that a probate will be needed to administer the estate. The best way to avoid probate is using a revocable trust.
Another way to avoid probate, but sometimes causing more problems than the probate itself, is to have all your assets in joint tenancy with right of survivorship or pass by beneficiary designation. The issues this cause is that the beneficiaries tend to get unequal distributions from the decedent, die before expected or assets don’t pass upon death as expected and probate ends up being required in spite of efforts to avoid it. Therefore, revocable trusts are still your best tools to avoid probate if this is your goal.
Kevin P. McFadden, Knollmiller & Arenofsky, LLP