Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC specializes in a wide array of practice areas, many of which take place within Surrogate’s Court. Surrogate’s Court is a specialized court in the court system that oversees wills and assets of deceased persons. But what does this mean for you?

What is Surrogate’s Court Used For?

In New York, Surrogate’s Court handles matters relating to Wills, trusts, estates, and properties of the deceased. The Surrogate’s Court also combines its authority with Family Court for proceedings pertaining to adoptions. Additionally, matters of guardianship for both minors and the developmentally/intellectually disabled are handled in in Surrogate’s Court.


Guardianship is where the court determines the rightful guardian of an individual. These individuals may be minors, the elderly, or the developmentally or intellectually disabled. Guardianship cases can be important in ensuring that an elderly or disabled loved one is provided the right care. Also, guardianship cases can help keep children with family members rather than the foster care system.


In the event that a person has no Last Will and Testament, the Surrogate’s Court distributes the assets of the estate through intestacy. Intestacy is when a person passes without a Will, and the court must determine how the estate is distributed, sometimes to the dismay of your heirs. Voluntary administration is a form of estate distribution where the total assets of the deceased do not exceed $30,000.


Probate administration is processed through the Surrogate’s Court. Probate administration includes proceedings to contest wills and other inheritance-based cases. Judges of the Surrogate’s Court work to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are upheld, and that the heirs can come to a compromise if needed.


Adoption proceedings are where two or more individuals can establish the legal relationship of parent and child. The Surrogate’s Court processes adoption claims.


The Surrogate’s Court in New York also handles a variety of proceedings that it considers miscellaneous. This encompasses a wide array of topics, but commonly deals in estate and trust litigation. This can include compelling a fiduciary to account, or the removal of a fiduciary. Other miscellaneous matters of the Surrogate’s Court include the construction of Wills or Trusts, the turnover of property to the estate, and more.

For more than 40 years, our firm has been assisting people like you with long term care and estate planning needs. We bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.