A person's estate almost always goes through probate after death, whether there is a will or not, according to the Free Dictionary. The probate process determines that a will is valid, pays any creditors the debts they are owed and legalizes the transfer of property to the inheritors.
One method for avoiding probate is to set up bank accounts to pay on death to another person, to own property jointly with one or more people and specify that the property has right of survivorship, and to give money and assets as gifts before death, according to Free Advice. This option is subject to state laws and bank policies. Another method is to set up a living trust, which distributes assets to beneficiaries without going through the probate process.