How do I check for possible estate records?

To request a search for the existence of an estate or Will:


  1. Send a written search request, Attention: Surrogate's Court Vault, containing the decedent’s name, date of death and last address (if known).
  2. There is a $10.00 search fee perInclude a check or money order made payable to the order of the “Essex County Surrogate.”
  3. Upon receipt of your written request and the fee, a search will be done.
  4. If the search does not reveal an estate record, you will be notified.
  5. It the search reveals an estate record, you will receive a letter containing the docket number, the name of the attorney of record (if any), the name and address of the executor/administrator, the number of pages the file contains, and the cost to provide the documents to you ($3.00 per page).
  6. If you decide to order the records, the letter will direct you as to the next steps.

Please note that each name will be considered a separate search. Also note that even if you have the estate docket number, your request will be considered a search request. If you do not wish to pay for a search, you may come to the Surrogate's vault and do a search, free of charge. Per page copy costs will still apply.