SCPA 1404 Discovery

The New York County Surrogates Court

New York County Surrogates Court

Each County in New York has a Surrogates Court. The New York County Surrogates Court handles cases involving the probate of decedent’s Last Will and Testament and the administration of decedent’s estates. It also handles certain types of guardianship – specifically guardianship of a minor, guardianship of a developmentally disabled adult. The New York County Surrogates Court also handles adoptions.

Matters Typically Heard by the Surrogates Court

"New York County Surrogates Court"

The following is a non-exhaustive list of matters that may be heard by the New York County Surrogates Court:

Probate – Petitions to prove the validity of a Decedent’s Last Will and Testament and appoint an Executor, or Administrator cta, or Administrator dbn, or even an Administrator for the Estate. Wills can be contested so the Surrogates Court will also handle the entire Will contest process

Administration – If the person died without a Will, an Administration proceeding is the process by which a person is appointed to collect and distribute asset. The Administration department will handle all forms of petitions where Decedent died without a Will.

Voluntary Administration(small estate administration) A simplified process of settling the estate of a decedent whose assets, in the decedent’s name alone, do not exceed $30,000 in value. Voluntary Letters of Administration cannot be used to administer real property.

Miscellaneous Proceedings  There are a number of applications and proceedings that are within the purview of the Miscellaneous department. For example, a petition to unseal a residence, an application to search the safe deposit box, a proceeding to remove a fiduciary, a proceeding to set legal fees, or a proceeding to determine a spouse’s right of election are all filed with the Miscellaneous department. 

Accounting – A fiduciary (the Executor, Trustee, or Administrator) of an Estate or Trust may be compelled to file an accounting or may voluntarily choose to file an accounting. The Accounting department will receive the Petition to Compel and the subsequent accounting.

Guardianship – the New York County Surrogates Court presides over two types of guardianships:

  1. Appointment of a guardian of a minor’s (child under 18 years of age) person, and/or of his or her property.
  2. Appointment of a guardian over a mentally-retarded person or over a developmentally disabled individual person and/or property. There is no age restriction under this provision.

Adoptions – the Surrogate’s court handles the following matters:

  1. Infant adoptions arranged directly between the parties or with the aid of a private adoption agency.
  2. Step-parent adoptions where the new partner or spouse adopts in conjunction with the birth or prior adoptive parent.
  3. Family adoptions (e.g., adoption by grandparent(s) or other family members).
  4. Adult adoptions where the person to be adopted is over the age of 18.
  5. Foreign adoptions – usually foreign countries finalize adoptions before the new parents and child(ren) return to the U.S. While it is not required to do a re-adoption, adoptive parents may consider the benefit of a U.S. birth certificate being issued for the child.

New York County Surrogates Court Directory

The Contact information for the various departments in New York County Surrogate’s Court is listed below. Please note that response time may be slower or limited as a result of the current pandemic. If you are not able to reach the department by phone, please consider sending an email.

Department Phone Email
Miscellaneous 646-386-5001
Accounting 646-386-5002
Guardian / Adoption 646-386-5003
Probate 646-386-5004
Administration/Small Estates 646-386-5005
Cashier 646-386-5006
Records Room 646-386-5090

New York County also has a list of Surrogate’s Court forms available for individuals who may want to do it themselves. The Forms are available here.

For more information, please contact probate, guardianship, and estate planning attorney Regina Kiperman:
Phone: 917-261-4514
Or visit her at her new location:
80 Maiden Lane
Suite 304
New York, NY 10038

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This post is made available by the lawyer for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the lawyer. The post should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING.

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