The word “probate” basically means to prove and is a legal document required when someone has died to prove the person dealing with their estate is the correct person.
An official Grant of Probate is needed to be able to sell a house or if there is a large sum of money in a Bank account or insurance policies to recover.
A Grant of Probate is obtained when there is a Will, but if there is no Will the laws of Intestacy apply and the beneficiaries then apply for Letters of Administration, which has the same effect as Probate.
However if the estate is small, sometimes less than £50,000.00, some organisations such as insurance companies and building societies, may release the money to the beneficiaries at their discretion, without the need for Probate or Letters of Administration.
This is called the Small Estates exempt procedure and usually the organisation just requires a form completed, which sometimes has to be signed in the presence of a Solicitor. The Solicitor will need to see the Death certificate of the deceased and evidence of identification of the person signing, such as passport and utility bills.