The Surrogates’ Office

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The Surrogate Court was created by the New Jersey State Constitution in 1844. The Surrogate’s Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. The Surrogate, a Judge of this Court by New Jersey Constitution, is the person who passes on the validity of a Will, gives the executor proof of authority to administer the estate and sees to it that the executor handles the estate properly. The jurisdiction of this court extends to the probate of Wills, qualifying of Trustees for Testamentary Trusts and the appointment of administrators or affiants of estates where no Will exists.

The Surrogate’s Court, is a depository for funds awarded to minors who through “friendly settlements”, inheritances or as beneficiaries of life insurance proceeds. The funds are deposited into the Surrogate’s Intermingled Minors Fund and remain in this account until the minor reaches majority age (18 years of age). The Surrogate is custodian of this fund and acts on the funds at the sole discretion of the New Jersey Superior Court.

The Surrogate is the Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court Chancery Division Probate Part. As the Deputy Clerk, the Surrogate appears in contested probate matters in Superior Court, swears in witnesses and takes minutes and notes during the Court proceedings. In this capacity the Surrogate is responsible for estate accounting reviews, insolvencies, appointment of guardians for incapacitated persons and actions to remove fiduciaries.

The Surrogate serves as Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court Chancery Division Family Part for all adoptions taking place in Mercer County. The Surrogate is responsible for reviewing the papers filed for an adoption procedure to ensure they meet the requirements of the Court Rules and New Jersey Statutes and schedules the adoption hearing. The Surrogate’s Court certifies the completed adoption and places the completed adoption under seal and maintains the adoption record indices.