The answer to “How do I avoid probate?” by and large is very simple: Own no property at death, at least no property titled in one’s own name. The solution is: During your life:
In the website page Is a Probate Necessary?, we looked at how this result may have been accomplished by a Decedent. And there, we found that to the extent a Decedent had any of the following property, such property, known under the common law as “nonprobate assets,” would pass “outside of probate” — without the necessity of a probate proceeding to clear title:
“Joint Tenancy Nonprobate Assets”:
“Death Beneficiary Designation Nonprobate Assets”:
So that, in effect, provides the answer:
To the extent that one has titled or transferred one’s assets during life so that they are nonprobate assets at death, no probate should be required to clear their title.
If all of one’s assets are nonprobate assets at death, a probate will be avoided — at least to clear title to one’s assets.
A probate may nevertheless be necessary for other reasons, such as those discussed in Is a Probate Necessary? This section discusses the more popular of the foregoing nonprobate assets in greater detail.
Sidebar: Use of the Terms “Nonprobate Assets” vs. “Will Substitutes”