Probate is a court proceeding for the court to review a will and/or appoint a personal representative of the estate.  In Utah, probate is not as bad as it is in other states, meaning that the courts move fairly quickly and the probate process is fairly straightforward.  However, with some planning, most probate proceedings may be avoided.  Probate makes your will public and heirs or creditors can come forward and make things more complicated.  How do you avoid probate?  A good place to start is to look at beneficiary designation on your bank and retirement accounts.  Are there beneficiaries listed?  Is it who you want?  If you own a home or property, is there anyone else, such as a spouse, on the title?  If there is, your property is likely in a joint tenancy and if something happens to you, it will go to the other person.  If not, I do not recommend putting someone else on the title just to avoid probate.  I will cover this in a future post.  A lot of people use a revocable living trust to avoid probate.  If you don’t have an estate worth more than $100,000 and don’t own property, the probate process is a lot easier, you can use this form for a small estate affidavit  A bank or other financial  institution will usually honor it and you will not need a probate order.