In many areas there seems to be some confusion surrounding probate law and what exactly it covers. Probate law, first of all, has nothing to do with probation. That is an entirely different area of practice. A Probate lawyer specializes in drawing up wills, living wills, and helping with the work around inheritance issues.
The laws actually vary quite a bit from state to state, but overall there are federal laws (and many states that have opportunistic “vulture” laws) that allow them to seize a large portion of many estates, or force the selling of it and taking a lion’s share of the profit through taxes and fees, if you don’t have a clear legal will letting people know how you expect your estate to be divided.
A probate attorney is critical to making sure that your wishes are followed whenever dealing with anything that has to do with splitting up an estate or creating an inheritance. No one should ever assume their wishes will be followed without one, even if they write down their wishes or are abundantly clear about what they want to be done, unless it is drawn up in a legal document that meets all state and federal requirements then there’s a good chance things won’t go smoothly.
This is even if everyone agrees on following the last wishes. If there are differing parties who dispute the will and fight or argue over who gets what, then there absolutely must be a legal document to avoid as much frustration as possible otherwise there is a good chance that serious legal repercussions will follow. That’s not how most people want to leave their family and the ones that they care about, so make sure to take care of these details before hand.
I understand that this can be a difficult time for many individuals and families. It with my deepest sympathies that I hope that this helps your family find a workable way to dealing with the loss of a loved one.