There are some pretty good reasons why we might like to see a recent probate at times. These reasons might have nothing to do with family history in the wider sense but everything to do with more recent family history.
There have been a few tears amongst my family and friends when one of the parents has died and the other parent has married again but did not outlive the new spouse. The children of the first marriage have found themselves cut out of any inheritance which was built up in their parents time. I'm sure this wasn't envisaged when the laws changed some years back.
I read an article whilst waiting in a hospital waiting room some months back, explaining the new laws and their pitfalls. I didn't have time to re-read it but I'm sure everyone knows someone who's been affected by this strange and unjust transfer of wealth.
If the probate you are looking for is a comparatively recent will then it is held at the Court of Record for a period of 12 years or thereabouts before being transferred to National Archives. Certainly that is the case for the Auckland High Court. It also depends on the amount of storage a court has before it transfers it to archives as well. So the local High Court is the best place to try if the death has occurred in the last 12 years.
Thanks to Stuart for this information.