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Essex Surrogate's Office Team

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Essex County.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services is also responsible for the state filing of birth, marriage and death certificates (also known as vital statistics).  Click here for steps to obtain certified copies of death certificates from the State of New Jersey.

What do I bring to the Surrogate's Court to Probate a Will?

The named executor must bring the following to the Surrogate's Court:

  1. The original Will
  2. Death certificate with raised seal
  3. Executor's photo identification
  4. Information that can be completed on the Pre-Visit Worksheet -This includes the names and addresses of closest next of kin. This would include any of the children of the decedent's deceased children. This also would include the children of the decedent's deceased brothers or sisters, if the decedent had no surviving spouse or children.
  5. Personal check 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.

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 at the state Judiciary website. Visit http://njcourts.gov/courts/civil/guardianship.html, Guardianship Reporting Forms section for the most current forms and instructions.

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

3.         Tax waiver from the State of New Jersey

Who do I contact to get a certified translation of a foreign document?

The Surrogate's Court cannot accept a death certificate, or other document, written in a foreign language without an accompanying certified translation. The New Jersey Judiciary maintains the New Jersey Judiciary, Language Services

Registry of Interpreting Resources, which includes the names of individuals and agencies that have registered with the Administrative Offices of the Courts to serve as interpreters and/or translators for specific languages.

Click here for the state's registry.