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Published On: November 8, 2022 | Last Updated On: October 13, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

What can I do if an executor is taking too long to administer an estate?

If an executor named under a will is not advancing the administration of an estate, you may be able to push the progress along and force their hand by issuing a citation at the Probate Registry. A citation is a written notice from the Registrar requiring the executor to do something. There are three types of citation:

  1. A citation to accept or refuse a grant;
  2. A citation to take probate; and
  3. A citation to propound a will.


Citation to accept or refuse a grant

A citation to accept or refuse a grant is a useful tool to advance the administration of an estate, by forcing an executor into taking action. If an executor won’t apply for a grant of probate, but will also not renounce, then a citation to accept or refuse a grant can be issued. This type of citation is available to anyone who would be entitled to take a grant if the executor was to renounce their entitlement.

The person cited must respond to the citation by entering an Appearance. If they fail to respond or do not enter an Appearance, then their right to act as an executor is extinguished, and the next person with the right to apply (normally the applicant) is entitled to do so.

If the executor does enter an Appearance, then they must take reasonable steps to apply for a grant of probate and administer the estate, failing which the applicant may ask the Court to issue a grant to them instead.

Citation to take probate

A citation to take probate can be used when a person has taken some steps to administer an estate (known as ‘intermeddling’) but has not applied for a grant. It can be issued from six months after the date of death if the executor has intermeddled but then not taken a grant. This type of citation is available to anyone with an interest in the estate.

The person cited must respond to the citation by entering an Appearance. If the person cited does not respond then the applicant can ask the Probate Registry for an order that the person cited take a grant within a specified time, failing which a grant may be issued to the applicant or another person. The order normally includes provision for an account of actions undertaken by the intermeddler.

Citation to propound a will

If a beneficiary of a will becomes aware of a later will, which would reduce their entitlement under the earlier will or intestacy, a citation to propound a will can be issued. It is a useful tool where there is a later will, but its validity is unclear because no one has attempted to propound it yet. The citation requires the executor to prove the later will is valid. If the person cited fails to enter an Appearance or propound the will, then the applicant can ask the Court for an order that a grant be issued as if the later will is invalid.

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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