A will allows you to designate who the court appointed representative (Executor) will be for your estate and how your estate will be divided. If your estate is worth more than $150,000 (gross not net), you should consider a trust.
Does a will alone avoid probate?
No, a will alone actually guarantees it, unless your total estate is worth less than $150,000.
California law requires a Probate proceeding if you=re worth more than $150,000 at the time of your death. A Will merely allows you to designate who the court appointed representative (Executor) for your estate will be and how your estate will be divided B there is still a long, public, expensive Court case in the Probate Court required to settle your affairs.