Sussex County Surrogate Court
Gary R. Chiusano
Sussex County Surrogate
Search the Surrogate Court Index online.
In New Jersey, the person who passes on the validity of a will and gives the executor proof of his authority to administer the estate is called the Surrogate. Each county has a Surrogate Court and the Surrogate is the Judge of the Court. He or she is elected for a term of five years, pursuant to the Constitution of New Jersey, by the people of the county in which he or she has jurisdiction.
The word “Surrogate” means one who takes the place of another. The Surrogate uses authority which dates back to the Archbishop of London and beyond, back to the Roman Emperors and the Bible. That power was recognized by subsequent New Jersey Legislatures in statutes that codify the powers and duties of the Surrogate. This judicial officer not only probates wills but also appoints trustees, administrators and guardians for minors and incapacitated persons.
The Surrogate also maintains a records vault dating back to 1804. The vault contains estate documents available to the general public, title searchers, genealogists and local historians. These records are a valuable research tool.
Today, the Sussex County Surrogate administers a Court which is certain to touch the lives of every person in the county at some time.
Functions of the Surrogate Court
- Probate Wills
- Appoint Administrators
- Provide Affidavits of Spouse or Next of Kin
- Appoint Trustees
- Appoint Guardians
- Invest Minors’ Trust Funds
- Process Adoptions
- Issue Letters of Conservatorship
- Process Contested Probate Matters
- Maintain the Surrogate Records from the early 1800's
- Film and Record All Surrogate & Superior Court Proceedings
- Assists in Genealogy and Title Research
- Outreach Program to senior population and homebound