How to Prevent Probate
Not having a plan or just a Will is a down payment on Probate.
The first way is to have nothing. If you don’t have anything you family won’t have to worry with probate. It’s really hard to time this though. And, your family will have to pay your funeral out of their pocket…
Second, if you can manage to pass with no outstanding bills, including final medical bills and have less than $100,000 of assets (not including your primary residence), your family can get away with a small estate affidavit, reducing the time to about 5 months. It is still a public filing, exposing your assets and their value to public scrutiny along.
Third, give everything you own away while living. But, giving things away creates other tax problems and can create Medicaid issues. Again, your family will have to pay for your funeral out of pocket.
Fourth, you can point everything in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. This method of estate planning is fraught with dangers to you.
Finally, create a proper estate plan that includes beneficiary designations, proper ownership of property, payable on death designations, and a revocable living trust.