Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary
A way to avoid probate for bank accounts, government bonds, securities, individual retirement accounts, and, in some states, real estate or cars. To create a pay-on-death designation, you simply name someone on the ownership document (such as the registration card for a bank account) to inherit the property at your death. You retain complete control of your property while you are alive, and you can change the beneficiary (payee) at any time. At your death, the property is transferred directly to the beneficiary, free of probate.