Everyone can, and should, have a will. However, a will does not guarantee that your estate and assets will go to the people you expect to inherit your things. A probate lawyer does everything he/she can to ensure that your heirs get what you have listed for them in the will, but that changes when you die and leave behind a large amount of debt. Here is what happens when you pass away unexpectedly at an earlier age, or you pass away at a typical age, an still have a ton of debt.
ALL Assets Are Liquidated
A will is not sure-fire protection against the loss of assets post-mortem. Your will does protect the assets to the extent that anything you award to an heir that is left after your debts are paid is what the heir receives. Ergo, if you have a ton of debt, all of your assets are liquidated to pay the debts. There is a very good chance that your assets might not cover your debts, in which case, your heirs might not get a dime.
Your Estate May Be Sold
The thing about hiring a probate lawyer is so that there is someone who can handle the legal affairs surrounding your will after you have passed away. For instance, an heir can challenge the will to get a bigger piece of the pie, so to speak. Creditors can pursue "you" in court to request that assets and property you owned be liquidated to pay debts.
If the latter occurs, the judge could rule that your home be sold and the profits used to pay debts. Of course, the creditors would have to be quite ruthless to do that, and most are unwilling to pursue this course of action. They would rather just accept the fact that a debtor has passed on and that they will never get the rest of their money.
What Is Left (after Attorney's Fees) Is Disbursed
When all of your debts have been addressed, there may be something left. If that is the case, your attorney gets his/her cut for fees, and your heirs get whatever they were supposed to get from whatever is left. If there is just a little money left, and the heirs were supposed to get the house, a car, etc., then the lawyer has to figure out how to split the remaining cash amount so that everyone gets something from your will.