Probate is the process of applying for the right to administer the estate (eg property, assets and money etc) of a person who has passed away and the procedure that follows from this. The person who administers the estate is the 'personal representative' or the 'executor' of the estate. Who this is depends on whether the deceased left a will or died intestate.
Probate is not necessary in certain circumstances, for example if the deceased’s estate is owned jointly with a spouse. It is generally considered that if the deceased person’s assets are worth less than £15,000, probate won’t be needed. But this isn’t the case in every situation as each financial institution has their own limit that determines whether or not Probate is needed (ranging from £5000 to £75,000).