New York Probate Court

The probate court in New York is called the Surrogate’s Court. There is a separate Surrogate’s Court in each county. The judge who oversees probate matters in the Surrogate’s Court is called a Surrogate. Because they deal with thousands of cases, they do not supervise each one individually. It is the executor’s function to do this. If you are going through the probate process in New York, contact a lawyer to help.

Probate Court Judges

In most New York countries, there are judges who are only for probate. However, they also handle adoptions and things of that nature and sometimes some forms of incompetency proceedings. The Surrogate’s Court does not handle commercial litigation, personal injury or other kinds of cases. You have to go the Supreme Court, which is the trial court, for other matters.

There are a variety of experienced judges in New York’s Surrogate’s Courts. Most of them are hardworking and very nice to the people who appear before them


Most of the clerks throughout the Surrogate’s court are very helpful. They will help an individual get through the probate process to some extent if they do not have a lawyer. Not everybody has a lawyer in the Surrogate’s Court. The clerks are helpful for most of the navigation of the court, however, they are prohibited by law from giving legal advice.

Filing Documents With the Court

When a document is filed with the court it can be mailed or someone can visit the court to file the document. The person delivering the document does not have to be the nominated executor or his or her lawyer. A clerk, paralegal, messenger or any individual can bring it to court. Even the client can bring it in. Some courts may prefer that the documents be mailed in.

Parking Near the Court

Each county is different, but every court has some place to park. In an area like Manhattan, parking may be available only in a commercial garage. Outside of New York City, the courts provide a parking lot for visitors and staff. It is open to the public and individual’s can park there when they come by car.

The Surrogate’s Court allows people to have cell phones with them in the court but should not be carrying a weapon.

Dress Code

Most likely in probate court, people will meet with a clerk. They are not going before the judge, so neat, casual clothes are appropriate. Individuals do not have to wear a tie or a jacket. However, when they go before a judge, it is appropriate to wear a tie and jacket, particularly if the individual is an attorney.