"My father passed away in late September. His new wife of 8.5 years is executor and she likes to drag her feet. I have not seen the will, but from what I understand, from what my Dad told me, is that because of the mortgage insurance, LOC insurance, etc, all debt is paid off and my Dad's wife is to now take out a mortgage for half the house to give this money to me as an inheritance. What would be the steps? I have not received a copy of the will from his lawyer. I have not heard anything from her. Last I heard she signed all the papers at the bank for the insurance. What can I do? The lawyer does not get back with my emails? Does she have a time frame in which this needs to happen?"
There are a couple of issues to address here. First of all you should obtain a copy of the will so that you can determine whether your father did actually set things up the way he told you he did. He could have changed his mind, after all. There is no point doing anything else until you have the facts about where you stand.
There is always the possibility that you are no longer a beneficiary of the estate because your father changed his will. This seems unlikely, since your father seemed to have put a great deal of thought into his estate, and to have settled on a plan that looked after everyone.
If you are a beneficiary under the will, the executor is bound by law to give you a copy. If she refuses to give you a copy, I hope her lawyer will advise her that you could apply to the court to try to force her to give you one.
Keep in mind that executors usually send beneficiaries a copy of the will at the time they apply for probate. This is usually around three months after the death of the deceased. This is because it takes time to make an inventory of the estate and to determine the value of all assets and debts. The information gets sent out in a package, including the will and inventory. This might be what the executor intends here. Obviously I don't know for sure that she intends this, but it certainly would be the norm. Requirements for notice to beneficiaries varies by province.
The lawyer isn't answering you because you aren't his client. He is bound by client confidentiality. He will only respond to you if he checks first with the executor, and the executor gives him the go-ahead. Given that you and she don't appear to like each other, I wouldn't expect that level of cooperation. The responsibility for sending out a copy of the will is actually the executor's, not the lawyer's, so you would probably be best off asking her directly.
It sounds as if you don't communicate with her, as you say that you are relying on things that you've heard rather than talking directly with her. However, for the purposes of wrapping up your father's estate, you should put aside any harsh feelings for now and deal with her directly. Relying on second hand information is misleading and frustrating. In my opinion, she should have contacted you, if only to make sure that you had the facts about your father's passing, but she has no legal obligation to contact you immediately following his death.
In terms of a time frame, keep in mind that most estates take a year to wind up. Estates move slowly, partly because there is an incredible amount of paperwork to deal with, and partly because the executor must deal with so many agencies, registries, courts, and companies. As your father passed not even two months ago, it's much too early to worry about the executor dragging her feet. In fact, if she has actually been to the bank to deal with the insurance, at least you know that she is working on the estate.
The executor will have to apply for probate, then transfer the property into her name alone. She will then have to apply for the insurance payments (which you believe she has already done) and apply for the mortgage. Though you say in your note that "all debts are paid", remember that it doesn't happen automatically; she has to provide paperwork to insurance providers and wait for the money to arrive. None of that will move particularly quickly, through no fault of the executor, so I believe it's too early for you to panic.