Besides setting up a Family Trust, there are a few other ways to avoid probate. These include the following:
(1) The property can be set up with a joint tenancy or a life estate form of ownership;
(2) Bank accounts and securities investments (stocks and bonds) can designate a “payable on death” beneficiary;
(3) A married couple can sign a devolution agreement; or
(4) The property can be given away to friends of family prior to death.
Unfortunately, these alternatives usually have significant adverse tax or other implications. A person should confer with an attorney before deciding to use one of these options in order to avoid probate.