Explaining Grants of Representation and the stages necessary to deal with an estate
Probate and legal procedures
The word probate is often used to describe the overall process of looking after the property, money and other belongings of someone who has died. This is administering (or administrating) the estate of the person who has died.
A Grant of Probate is actually the legal document, a court order, which is issued by the Probate Registry (part of the Courts Service) to one or more executors of the Will of the person who has died. An executor is a person named in a Will as having the responsibility of carrying out the instructions in the Will and administering the estate.
If the person who died has not left a Will, a similar court order is needed which is a grant of Letters of Administration and the responsibility usually falls to the nearest next of kin. Instead of executor, this person is called the administrator. Personal representative is a term used to cover both executors and administrators.
The process and the forms needed for both documents are almost identical so the term Grant of Representation is often used to include both types of grant.
In Scotland the process is rather different although some of the same forms are used. The grant is called Confirmation.
Co-op Legal Services, affiliated with Bereavement Advice Centre provides an enormous amount of information on what probate is and what is involved.