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While there is no requirement to use a lawyer, probate is a rather formal procedure. One minor omission, one failure to send Great Aunt Tillie a copy of the petition, or a missed deadline, can cause everything to come to a grinding halt or expose everyone to liability.
The death of a family member or friend sometimes tends to bring out the very worst in some people. Experience shows that even in close families there is a tendency to get overly emotional about relatively trivial matters at the time of a loved one's death, such as who gets the iron frying pan and who gets the kettle. Such minor matters, or any delays or inconveniences can be upsetting, pose issues of fairness, and create unfounded suspicion among family members. Thus it generally is a very good idea to "let a lawyer do it".
The Book of Memories™ helps with the memorialization; any family member or friend can take advantage of this free service by creating an account and a book to memorialize their loved one.
Dying is one of the few events in life that is certain to occur, yet one we are not likely to plan for. Should we really spend more time preparing for two weeks away from work than we do our last days on Earth?