Probate has different processes in every state depending on where your loved one lived at the time they passed away. But it generally refers to the legal system through which that person’s individually owned property is passed on after their death. There are many different reasons and options available to avoid probate.
The most common method of avoiding probate is by using jointly held assets that include a right of survivorship. Bank accounts and real property can be placed on the name of more than one person, typically two spouses, in order to allow that property to seamlessly be passed on to the survivor after death.
The benefit of having an asset held in this manner is simplicity because the property will not be frozen when the first spouse passes away and the surviving member has the right to continue to use in possession as well as the option to transfer the property. Jointly held property, however, should still be outlined in an estate plan.
At some point, both property owners will pass away and the plan needs to include instructions regarding the distribution of that property. There is no protection for separate beneficiaries when it comes to jointly held property so the services of an estate planning lawyer should be used to ensure that this is protected especially in blended families.