1) How do I begin the probate procedure?
The person that wishes to be appointed to represent the Estate
will bring a certified copy of the death certificate and the original
Will. While the Middlesex County Surrogate can begin the paperwork
anytime after death, probate cannot be completed until the day following
the tenth day after death. No appointment is necessary for our New
Brunswick office. You can make an appointment at one of our nine satellite
offices by calling (732) 745-3055.
2) Is the probate process expensive?
No. Most probates cost less than $200.00.
3) 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.
4) What do I bring to Middlesex County Surrogate Court?
If you are probating a will, you have to bring:
- A certified
copy of a death certificate;
- An original
will. If an original will cannot be located, the will, to be admitted
to probate, must be formally admitted through proceedings in Middlesex
County Superior Court.
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:
- A certified
if applicable, from parties not willing to serve as administrator.
Please see our Forms Section for blank Renunciations.
- A list of the
decedent’s assets and an approximate value of each.
- You must
provide the Make, Model and Vin number for any car in the decedent’s
- You must
provide Bank Account information i.e. Bank name, Account number
and most recent statement.
What forms of payment does the Middlesex County Surrogate Court accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Checks and Money Orders.
We DO NOT accept cash or Power of Attorney checks
from the deceased.
7) What does "Probate" mean?
“Probate” refers to the act of presenting a will to the
Surrogate Court for filing. In a more general sense, probate
refers to the method by which your estate is administered and processed
through the legal system after you die.
What time are you at the satellite office?
Please refer to the Satellite Office Section.
How long will this take?
It generally takes between fifteen and thirty minutes to complete
the probate process.
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 come to the Surrogate Court to make application for Administration.
How do I get a Tax ID number?
Form SS-4 - Application for Employer Identification Number (EIN)
Why does the Surrogate Court keep the original Will and what happens
if I need it again?
New Jersey law requires that the original will be filed with the Surrogate
Court in the county the decedent resided in at the time of his/her
death. A copy of the will is provided to the executor at the time
What kind of ID do I need?
No ID is required.
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. Administrators are required by law to
obtain a surety bond in order to be appointed. Executors may
not be required to obtain a surety bond if the will waives that requirement.
When does the reading of the Will take place?
In New Jersey the will is not read aloud in a formal manner. It is
examined by the Surrogate Court when presented by the executor.
Do I need an attorney?
An attorney is not required to appear in the Surrogate Court with
Can you recommend an attorney?
Middlesex County Bar Association http://www.mcbalaw.com/;
I already paid my attorney; why do I have to pay you too?
Attorney fees are separate from Surrogate fees.
Why do I have to probate the Will just for a car?
The Motor Vehicle Commission requires a Surrogate certificate to transfer
a car out of the decedent's name.
Do I have to transfer the car into my name before I can sell it?
The Executor/Administrator of the Estate is taking too long to distribute
my money; how do I get them to pay me my share?
A legatee/beneficiary of an estate has the right to petition the Superior
Court to compel the Executor/Administrator to make distribution. However,
the Executor/Administrator should be allowed a reasonable time to
settle the estate. This would include the payment of taxes, debts,
How can I get a copy of a Will?
A copy of a probated will can be obtained in person, through the mail
or ordered over the phone. The fee for a copy is $3.00/page.
How do I get Guardianship of a Minor?
A person would apply in the Surrogate Court for the Guardianship of
How do I reverse the Guardianship of a Minor?
By Superior Court Order.
How do I get a Bond released?
The administrator can be released from the surety bond in two ways:
What is the fee for filing a Refunding Bond and Release?
Please refer to the Fee Schedule
What is the fee for filing an Order to Show Cause and Verified Complaint?
Please refer to the Fee Schedule
Do I have to locate the witnesses to the will?
If the will is “self-proved” – i.e., if it was witnessed
by two individuals and notarize by a third individual – the
witnesses do not have to appear to attest to their signatures.
If the will is not “self-proved” then one of the witnesses
will have to attest to his/her signature.
Is the executor or administrator entitled to a fee?
Yes. The fee is a percentage of the probate estate and is established
How do I contest a will?
File a complaint with the Superior Court through the Middlesex County
If a will contains any charitable bequests, how does the executor
notify the Attorney General of NJ?
The executor must file an affidavit with the Attorney General that
a Notice of Probate was served to all interested parties by personal
service, or regular and certified mail. The affidavit should be sent
to: Attorney General of the State of New Jersey, Division of Law,
P.O. Box 112, Trenton, NJ 08625.
Useful Telephone Numbers:
Inheritance Tax Office: 609-292-5033
Motor Vehicle Information: 609-292-6500
Security Administration: 800-772-1213
Tax Information: 800-829-1040
of Veterans Affairs: 800-827-1000