July 11, 2015
Surrogate's Court: What is the Surrogate's Court
According to statute/law, the Surrogate's Court is the court authorized to "exercise general jurisdiction in law and equity to administer justice in all matters relating to estates and the affairs of decedents." Another, simpler, way of thinking of the Surrogate's Court is to think of it as the "dead people" Court, as nearly all client contact with the Surrogate's Court is in relation to the estate of a deceased person.
The Surrogate's Court is the court where people file legal papers, called petitions, seeking to be appointed as Executor of a deceased person's estate (when the person died leaving a Will) or seeking to be appointed as Administrator of a deceased person's estate (when the person died without leaving a Will). Note that besides these petitions, the Surrogate's Court will also take petitions relating to trusts, trust management, estate management and the need/desirability of appointing a guardian to manage the financial and health care affairs of an incapacitated person.