In some instances, heirs/beneficiaries and the personal representative have disagreements. When a matter involving an estate becomes contested, a probate court often will first direct the parties to mediation to attempt to settle their dispute. A probate attorney can make the difference between an estate that is settled in an efficient manner and a litigated ordeal that can split families apart. Often, family members are happier with a mediated agreement than with the results of litigation.
If mediation fails, then the court will hold an evidentiary hearing and make a decision. Whatever the nature of the dispute, look for an attorney with experience and a good record of service to his/her clients. Having experience truly does matter, and, as in any business, you want a lawyer who will return your calls and be clear about what he/she is doing for you as you go through the process.