Essex County Surrogate Court
The function of the Essex County Surrogate includes administrating wills, estates, and trusts of Essex residents. The Essex County Surrogate is elected for a five year term under the New Jersey State Constitution and is a Chancery Division clerk of the New Jersey Superior Court. The Essex County Surrogate presides over the filing of wills that appoint executors, in order to transfer a decedent’s real and personal property. The Essex County Surrogate appoints an administrator to an estate where there is no will.
The function of the Essex County Surrogate Court includes:
- administering wills, estates, guardianships, and trusts for Essex County residents
- clerk of the Essex County Superior Court
- assisting legal matters ranging from adoptions to incompetency matters
- managing the Minors’ Intermingled Trust Fund, as custodian, for Essex County minors
The Essex County Surrogate Court is fully computerized and automated. Microfilm read-printers are available for reading or reproducing original wills and other relevant probate documents.
1) How do I begin the probate procedure? The person that wishes to be appointed to represent the Estate will bring a certified copy of the death certificate and the original Will. While the Essex County Surrogate can begin the paperwork anytime after death, probate cannot be completed until the day following the tenth day after death.
2) Is the probate process expensive? No. Most probates cost less than $200.00.
3) Who has the right to be appointed when an individual dies without a Will? The surviving spouse or domestic partner has the first right. However, any heir may be appointed assuming they obtain the appropriate renunciations from any other heir who has an equal or prior right to be appointed.
4) What do I bring to Essex County Surrogate Court? If you are probating a will, you have to bring:
- A certified copy of a death certificate;
- An original will. If an original will cannot be located, the will, to be admitted to probate, must be formally admitted through proceedings in Essex County Superior Court.
- Please be advised that there are Essex County Surrogate Court costs to probating a will and you are advised to bring at least $200.00 in check or cash, to the Essex County Surrogate Court.
5) What do I bring if the decedent dies without a will?
You must still go through the probate process, you have to bring:
- A certified death certificate;
- Renunciations, if applicable, from parties not willing to serve as administrator.
Useful Telephone Numbers:
- NJ Inheritance Tax Office: 609-292-5033
- NJ Motor Vehicle Information: 609-292-6500
- Social Security Administration: 800-772-1213
- US Tax Information: 800-829-1040
- Department of Veterans Affairs: 800-827-1000