An estate sale is usually when someone passes away and their belongings and holdings are distributed according to their will. In most cases the estate appoints an executor who will be in charge of selling their property and distributing the funds to the family members or to a charity. Before the sale can complete, it must go through probate to make sure there are no outstanding debts.
Probate: A process whereby a court reviews a will to make sure that it is authentic, and allows others to make legal challenges to the will.
Estate: An individual's property and assets -- including real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, and personal property such as automobiles and jewelry.
Executor: A person named in a will who is authorized to manage the estate of the deceased person. The executor will collect the property, pay off any debts, and distribute property and assets according to the terms of the will.