Probate has a bad reputation and is often described as a proceeding that is to be avoided at all costs. It is true that when someone dies without an estate plan in place and therefore, by default most of their assets fall into a probate proceeding, the probate proceeding can be unnecessarily expensive and time consuming. However, when incorporated into a well designed estate plan, probate can have a positive role to play.
If you die without having a will to distribute your assets, then you have died intestate. Dying intestate means that your assets will be distributed in accordance with the plan outlined in the law, not in accordance with any plan outlined by you. This can have unexpected and undesired results. For example, this can mean that your spouse is left with less of your assets than you may have wished.
When someone dies and needs a probate, that probate is usually conducted in the state in which they are a resident, which is their home state (sometimes a person may appear to be a resident of more than one state, but the home state is the state in which they have their driver’s license or are registered to vote etc.).