People often ask about if and how probate can be avoided, and there are a number of different ways of holding assets that will avoid probate.
The simplest is probably just joint ownership, such as a piece of real estate held as joint tenants or a bank account held jointly. This type of assets will pass automatically to the other joint owner when the first owner dies – but keep in mind, there will still be a probate at the second death.
Another way to avoid probate is by assets which have 'designated beneficiaries', such as an insurance policy or a retirement plan (such as an IRA). These assets will pass to those beneficiaries when the owner of the asset dies.
Still another way to avoid probate is to hold assets in a revocable trust.