In response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak and for the protection of the Surrogate Staff and the general public, the Cape May County Surrogate’s Court has been closed to the public since March 20, 2020. The Surrogate’s Court has been open and staffed continuously since that time to conduct all normal business operations. All necessary services can and have been completed via the telephone, internet, email, regular mail, fax and a drop-box installed in the main lobby of the Courthouse. This remains the preferred procedure for the near future.
The Surrogate’s Court can be contacted as follows:
Regular Mail 4 Moore Road, DN-207
Cape May County House, NJ 08210
For regular probate matters, please forward to us the original Will, an original Death Certificate and a completed Information Sheet which can be found on the Surrogate website:
Please advise as to your preferred method of communication. In many cases we will call you to get any additional information, then email forms to you for execution and advise you of the required fee. After you return the forms to us, with the necessary fee, we will mail you the original documents you will need to administer the estate.
With the phased re-opening of the Court, we will be available to meet with members of the public BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. To expediate the process, the Information Sheet, Will and Death Certificate MUST be submitted prior to the appointment so that we can prepare necessary documentation in advance of your appointment and limit your wait time in the office.
We apologize for any inconveniences or delays in providing services. However, I believe these actions will help protect the public, provide for the health of my staff and ensure the continued professional and empathetic service the public has come to expect and deserve from the Surrogate Court.
Dean R. Marcolongo, Esquire Surrogate Judge, Cape May County
Each county has a Surrogate's Court and the Surrogate is the Judge of that court. The Surrogate is elected for a term of 5 years, pursuant to the Constitution of New Jersey, by the people of the county in which he or she has jurisdiction. Today, the County Surrogate is the Judge of the Surrogate’s Court which is almost certain to touch the lives of every person in the county at some time.
The word "Surrogate" means "one who takes the place of another." The Surrogate in each county is actually taking the place of the governor, who in 1710 received from the Archbishop of London the authority as the Archbishop's "Ordinary" or Surrogate General to probate wills, issue marriage licenses and perform those functions which at that time were in the province of the Church.
That power, eventually distributed by the governor, then the governor of the Crown Colony of New Jersey, and subsequently the Governor of the State of New Jersey to his Surrogates, was recognized by subsequent New Jersey Legislatures in statutes which codified the powers and duties of the Surrogates, and by the Constitutions which fixed their terms.