As I meet with clients, I often discover a misconception about what a Will accomplishes. “If I have a Will in place, then I can avoid probate, correct?” is the sort of question and assumption I frequently encounter. While a Will serves several important functions and is a key component of most estate planning, it does not avoid probate. In fact, the only way that a Will is utilized is through the probate court. It is an effective and important tool—but will NOT keep your property out of probate. Fortunately, there are several tools and strategies that can indeed streamline your estate planning, avoid probate and help you accomplish your planning goals. These often include a trust, a beneficiary deed or other strategies, but of course every individual and every situation is different and requires individualized attention and planning.