Probate sounds like an arduous process, doesn't it? Even without the context of estate planning, the word "probate" doesn't exactly sounds fun or promising. With the context of estate planning, it is made even clearer that probate is not fun or promising. Probate is the process of transferring your assets and property to other parties -- but it is done under the supervision of a court.
Usually this happens when the individual doesn't plan his or her estate in an optimal way. Maybe they didn't utilize trusts or organize their will in a way that could avoid the probate process. So how do you avoid probate?
One of the best ways to avoid probate is to create joint ownership agreements for your assets and property. These agreements transfer the property or assets to the joint owner of the property upon your death. These assets then skip the probate process.
You can use a similar tactic with other assets you have. Death beneficiaries are utilized by many people to transfer funds from their bank accounts or retirement accounts. Much like the joint ownership agreement, a death beneficiary receives the funds in these accounts upon a person's death, thus skipping probate.
Revocable living trusts are also a helpful tool for people planning their estate. In such a trust, you would transfer your ownership of property to the trustee. The trustee then holds that property for your benefit. You and the trustee agree to the terms of the trust, and as such, the property can skip the probate process.
There are many other steps you can take to avoid probate, so if you are curious, you should get in touch with an attorney.
Source: FindLaw, "Avoiding the Probate Process," Accessed May 3, 2016