Surrogate

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 16, 2020, and for the foreseeable future. 

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.  Emergency situations are handled on a case by case basis.

Surrogate’s Court can be contacted as follows:

            Telephone:                   609-463-6666

            Email:                          surrogate@co.cape-may.nj.us

            Fax:                             609-463-6454

            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; 

https://capemaycountynj.gov/DocumentCenter/View/6111/Information-Sheet-PDF

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. 

We apologize in advance for any inconvenience or delays in providing services.  However, these difficult times require unusual responses.  I believe these actions will help protect the public, provide for the health of my staff and ensure the continued professional, prompt and empathetic service the public has come to expect and deserve from the Surrogate Court.

                                          Dean R. Marcolongo, Esquire                                              Surrogate Judge, Cape May County


Responsibilities


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.
Surrogate Seal of the County of Cape May
Aside from the appointment of a guardian for a minor who comes into an estate, or the supervision of an adoption, or a sanity hearing, for example, it is increasingly common, after a death, to visit the Surrogate's Court for the appointment of someone to handle the estate of the deceased. In New Jersey, the person who passes on the validity of a will, gives the executor proof of authority to administer the estate and sees to it that the executor handles the estate properly, is called the Surrogate.


Root Meaning


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.