Another way to avoid needing a will (and to avoid probate) is to set up a living trust. A living trust is an agreement in which someone holds property that really belongs to someone else. It is then used for the latter person's benefit. For example, a person might transfer all his or her stocks to a trust, which would provide that during that person's life, he or she gets all the dividends from the stock. Then, after his or her death, the income goes to the children.
If the trust is revocable, the person setting up the trust (the settlor) can change the trust or even dissolve it. If it is irrevocable, it cannot be changed.
A living trust, often called a revocable living trust or an inter vivos trust, is usually a trust that a person or couple sets up in which they become their own trustees. A main benefit of this is that their property then avoids probate, although there are many other benefits of trusts.