Many people believe that having a Will means that their estate will not have to be probated when they pass away, and this is inaccurate.
A Will is a document that, in part, gives instructions as to how you want your assets distributed upon your death. The assets in your probate estate are those that are held in your name alone and do not have a designated beneficiary.
Therefore, whether or not probate is needed is not based upon whether or not you had a Will, but rather upon how your assets are owned. If you leave probate assets, then in order for your Will to “speak,” a probate estate must be opened. If all the assets held in your name are jointly owned with a right of survivorship, or have named beneficiaries, then there is no need for probate.