Surrogate's Court

Surrogate's court is a specialized court that handles matters related to Estates, Wills, Trusts, Guardianship, and other similar legal proceedings.

Also known as Probate Court or Orphan's Court in some jurisdictions, surrogate's court primarily focuses on the Administration of an estates after a person's death, as well as matters concerning individuals who are unable to manage their own affairs due to incapacity.

Key functions and responsibilities of surrogate's court include:

Probate and Estates: Surrogate's court oversees the Probate process, which involves validating the authenticity of wills and ensuring that a deceased person's assets are distributed according to their wishes (if a valid will exists) or according to the Laws of Intestacy, if there is no will.

Estate Administration: The court supervises the administration of estates, including the collection and distribution of Assets, paying Debts, and resolving disputes among Surviving Family members, Heirs and other Beneficiaries.

Guardianship: The court can appoint legal Guardians for individuals who are incapacitated, such as minors, or adults who are unable to make decisions for themselves due to physical or mental limitations.

Trust Matters: Surrogate's court oversees Trusts, including the appointment of Trustees and the resolution of issues related to trust administration.

Will Contests: If there are disputes or challenges regarding the validity of a deceased person's will, the court can preside over hearings and make determinations.

Accounting and Reporting: Executors, Administrators, and trustees may be required to submit reports and accountings to the court detailing their actions in managing and distributing assets.

Adoptions: In some jurisdictions, surrogate's court may handle adoption proceedings, ensuring that adoptions are conducted legally and in the Best Interests of the Child.

Name Changes: The court may process name change petitions, particularly when related to estate matters or other legal proceedings.

Conservatorship: In some jurisdictions, the court may establish Conservatorships to manage the financial and personal affairs of individuals who are unable to do so themselves.

It's important to consult with an Estate Attorney or Probate Attorney when dealing with probate to help navigate the laws and processes of surrogate's court.