There are several things you can do while you are alive to avoid certain assets going through probate.
Transfer On Death (TOD): “The transfer on death designation lets beneficiaries receive assets at the time of the person’s death without going through probate. This designation also lets the account holder or security owner specify the percentage of assets each designated beneficiary receives, which helps the executor distribute the person’s assets after death. With TOD registration, the named beneficiaries have no access to or control over a person’s assets as long as the person is alive.”
Life Insurance & Annuities Beneficiaries: “Life insurance and annuities will pass by contract as well, so it’s just as important that you contact all life insurance companies where you maintain policies to ensure that your beneficiaries are listed correctly.”
Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship: “Joint tenants with right of survivorship (JTWROS)… is a type of property ownership, a surviving member will inherit the total value of the other member’s share of property upon the death of that other member.” When titling real property this way, the real property does not go through probate.”
Trust: “A trust is a fiduciary relationship in which one party, known as a trustor, gives another party, the trustee, the right to hold title to property or assets for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary. Trusts are established to provide legal protection for the trustor’s assets, to make sure those assets are distributed according to the wishes of the trustor, and to save time, reduce paperwork and, in some cases, avoid or reduce inheritance or estate taxes.”