With a few exceptions, property held in the names of both husband and wife does not automatically pass to the survivor upon the death of one of them. To determine the ownership of property held in the names of two or more people, when one of them dies, you must first look at the documents under which the interest was held to see if they mention survivorship. There are methods of planning that will allow much of your property to pass to the surviving spouse “outside” of your estate. Nonetheless, some property will likely remain that does not pass outside of the estate, thus creating the need for the estate to be probated. The surety bond, which is a requirement in the probate process, may be waived in a Will. The cost of this surety bond can exceed the fee charged to prepare the Will! Also, a properly drafted Will can relieve stress on the loved ones you leave behind, as well as save them time and money during the probate process.