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 responsiibility 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.
Explaining Grants of Representation and the stages necessary to deal with an estate
Information and advice on making the best choice for you and your estate
A pdf guide to completing probate
Dealing with the estate's debts
Sample letters for informally dealing with insolvent estates with small debts
The main differences between Confirmation in Scotland and Probate in England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Confirming an executor in Scotland
Appointing an executor without a Will
Potential sources of assistance
Important differences to provate in Northern Ireland
Important differences to probate on the Isle of Mann
A list of helpful contacts for probate