How Do You Create a Non-Probate Will?

Ways to create a will that avoids probate include creating a revocable living trust, having pay-on-death accounts, having a joint ownership of property and giving property away while still alive, according to Nolo. It's best to sit down with a reputable lawyer familiar with wills, trusts and the probate process to improve the chances of avoiding probate.

Any property listed in a revocable trust isn't part of the individual's probate estate, notes Nolo. The trustee becomes the property owner rather than the person who draws up the trust. After death, the trustee has the ability to transfer the property to the intended beneficiary, named by the person who created the trust.

An individual can convert retirement and bank accounts as well as security registrations to pay-on-death accounts after filling out the proper forms and designating a beneficiary, according to Nolo. Depending on the state, an individual may be able to leave his vehicle registration in a pay-on-death account. Some states permit transfer-on-death property deeds.

By giving property away while still alive, a person avoids having those items go through probate, notes Nolo. An item's worth determines how much it costs to go through probate, and most gifts don't incur the federal gift tax.