Simply put, Probate is a court issued document that confirms the Will of the deceased is valid and validates the appointment of the person nominated as Executor in the Will. The Executor will need to obtain a Grant of Probate before they can administer and distribute the estate.
The official term for Probate is a Grant of Representation and there are two types of these grants -
- Probate - where there is a Will; and
- Letters of Administration - where there is no Will.
Where no Will exists, and Letters of Administration is being obtained the deceased's next of kin is usually the one who would make the application and be appointed as the Administrator of the estate. This then allows them to administer and distribute the estate in the same way an Executor named in a Will does.
The reason a Grant of Representation is needed is because it gives the Executor or the Administrator the authority to deal with the assets of the estate and subsequently to distribute the estate.