A beneficiary under a will who is not an executor has a few options when it comes to moving the process along.
If the executor has not yet applied for probate, one option is for the beneficiary to serve on the executor a “citation” in relation to the will. The citation requires the executor to either apply for probate within 6 months, or renounce their appointment as executor (that is, step down).
If the executor has obtained a grant of probate, the executor is allowed one year from the willmaker’s death to gather in the assets and settle the affairs of the estate. During this time the executor cannot be compelled to pay cash gifts described in the will, but it is good practice for the executor to keep the beneficiaries informed as to the status of the estate’s administration.
A beneficiary can require the executor to pass their accounts after the one-year anniversary of obtaining probate. The accounts will show the estate’s revenues and disbursements during the executor’s administration. If the executor refuses or the accounts are inaccurate or incorrect, the executor can be brought before the court to explain.
Under certain circumstances, a beneficiary may apply to court to have an executor removed.