Probate is the legal process that transfers the legal title of property from the estate of the deceased to their beneficiaries whether one has a will or not.   During the probate process, a designated individual goes before the courts and identifies and catalogs all the property you owned, appraises the property, and pays all debts and taxes, proves that the will is valid and legal, and distributes the property according to the instructions of the will.  Probate can be a long, drawn-out legal process, and there are some probate-avoidance plans in place.  Probate is also a public record, therefore reducing the privacy of the details of the estate.  Generally speaking, an asset that allows the owner to name a beneficiary will not have to go through probate.  Simply speak to your attorney to find out what you can do to avoid probate .