If the person who has died left a Will then it may be necessary for the Executors to get a Grant of Probate of the Will. A common misconception is that you only have to get Probate if there was not a Will, or there is a problem with the estate. This is incorrect. In fact, Grant of Probate is actually the legal recognition of the Will and the Executors authority to close down bank accounts and sell assets etc. An estate with a Will will almost certainly need to obtain Probate if the assets are above a certain amount, or if there is a house or land that needs to be sold or transferred.
If there is not a Will, then the Intestacy Rules apply and dictate who inherits, and who can deal with the estate. It does not matter who is the eldest child, or whether the person who died liked the person – in absence of a Will there are strict rules of inheritance.
The person who is to take on the role of dealing with the estate (the Administrator) needs to formally apply to be appointed into this role before they have any power to deal with the estate. This document, which is the equivalent of a Grant of Probate, is called Letters of Administration.