Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How to obtain a certified copy of a death certificate?

Certified copies of death certificates are available from Local Registrars for the municipality where the death occurred. Click here for listing of municipalities in Hudson County.
  1. What do I bring to the Surrogate’s Court to Probate a Will?

Please Note: Probate cannot be completed until the day following the tenth day after death.
The named executor must bring the following to the Surrogate’s Court:
The Original Will
Original Death certificate With Raised Seal
Photo Identification
Names and Address of Next of Kin-This includes the names and addresses of closest next of kin including any of the children of the decedent’s alive or deceased, children of the decedent’s deceased sibling, if the decedent had no surviving spouse or children.
Personal Check, Credit or Debit Card or Cash for filing fees and costs: Generally, filing fees and costs are approximately $150-$200. This varies based upon the length of the Will and complexities of the estate. The filing fee for the Will is $100.00 dollars for the first two pages and $5.00 for each additional page. The cost of Surrogate’s Certificates is $5.00 per certificate.
  1. Who has the right to be appointed when an individual dies without a Will?

The next of kin of the decedent have the right to be appointed.  This is determined by statute. The surviving spouse or domestic partner has the first right. Children of the decedent are next. 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.
  1. What do I bring if the decedent dies without a will?

You must still go through the probate process. You will be required to bring:
Original Death certificate With Raised Seal
Renunciations, if applicable, from parties not willing to serve as administrator. Please call 201-795-6378 for more information.
A list of the decedent’s assets and an approximate value of each.(i.e The Make, Model and Vin number for any car in the decedent’s name alone, Bank Account information such as Bank name, Account number and most recent statement.)
  1. How long will this take?

It generally takes between Thirty to Forty- Five Minutes to complete the probate process.
  1. What happens if I can’t find the Original Will?

If the original will cannot be found, the next of kin to the deceased would make application for Administration.
  1. Why does the Surrogate Court keep the original Will and what happens if I need it again?

The Original Will remains on file in our office and is a public record which can be accessed accordingly. A copy of the will is provided to the executor at the time of probate.
  1. What is a Surety Bond and why do I need to get one?

A surety bond is an insurance policy that protects the beneficiaries and creditors of the estate. In some cases Administrators are required by law to obtain a surety bond based on amount to be inherited in order to be appointed. Executors may not be required to obtain a surety bond if the Will waives that requirement. The Costs of the bond are reimbursable by the estate and any other expenses associated with the probate process.
  1. Do I need an attorney?

No, an attorney is not required to appear in the Surrogate Court with the applicant.
  1. When is an estate considered closed?

An estate is considered closed upon the executor, administrator or appointed next-of-kin filing the following in the Surrogate’s Court:
1.         Accounting (where formal court proceedings require filing an accounting);
2.         Refunding Bond and Release forms from each beneficiary; and
3.         Tax waiver from the State of New Jersey
  1. Where Can I Get the “Annual Report of Guardian” Form?

The Annual Report of Guardian must be filed yearly on the anniversary date of a guardian’s appointment, unless the judge specified otherwise on the date of appointment.  File the original with the Surrogate and send a copy to the attorney that served as court-appointed counsel.  The filing fee for this report is $5.00 per page. Guardianship reporting forms and instructions are provided on our site. Visit Forms section for the most current forms and instructions.
  1. How can I obtain copies of documents probated? 

A copy of documents probated can be obtained in person, through the mail or online through our online index. The fee for a copy is $3.00/page; searches are $10.00 per estate through the mail payable to the Surrogate of Hudson County, via check or money order.
  1. What is the fee for filing?
    Please refer to the Surrogate Fee Schedule.