The time it takes to process your estate through probate is probably a reason you are thinking about avoiding probate if you can. There are a number of ways you can bypass probate, such as setting up a trust. You may also try something less complicated. You may designate a beneficiary to receive some of your assets and accounts.
There are many kinds of accounts that allow you to assign somebody to receive the assets in the account after you die. Doing so allows for a transfer of assets without a probate court getting involved. Per FindLaw, here are a few examples of accounts that permit you to designate a beneficiary.
When you sit down to establish your retirement account, you likely had to fill out the name of someone who would receive your assets after your death. Many retirement accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA have this option. You should have flexibility to name whoever you choose. Be aware that if you marry, your spouse may have a right to the account that supersedes your beneficiary, so check to see how the law will apply in your case.
Payable on death accounts
Designating a beneficiary on your checking or savings account may be another option. Many banks allow you to name a beneficiary to acquire your account once you have died. This will make your account a payable on death account. If you cannot convert an existing account to a POD account, you might ask about setting one up from scratch.
Transfer property on death
You may be pleased that your money accounts can go to a child or another heir through a beneficiary designation, but what about other assets? Depending on what state law says, you might establish a transfer on death registration for an automobile. After you die, your vehicle will go to your assigned beneficiary. You may do the same if you own securities like stocks or bonds.
If a death registration option is not available, you might seek other options like a joint tenancy arrangement that allows you and another person to own property like real estate. Options like these may help keep much of your estate out of probate.