In News, Wills, Trusts and Estate Law

On Friday, April 17, 2020, Superior Court of New Jersey, Bergen County Assignment Judge, the Honorable Bonnie J. Mizdol, A.J.S.C. entered an Order Allowing Remote Video Subscription of Probate Documents in the Surrogate’s Court. The Order permits the remote execution of probate documents. In connection with the Order, the Bergen County Surrogate, Michael R. Dressler issued a Notice to the Bar, which addresses the Order and modifications being implemented for adult guardianship matters.

In particular, the Order specifically permits the Bergen County Surrogate and Probate Clerks to administer oaths and witness signatures by videoconferencing in all matters before the Surrogate’s Court. If you are a New Jersey representative (i.e., Executor under a Will or an Administrator, where there is no Will), you are now able to qualify before the Surrogate Court by sending: a completed will fact sheet, a copy of the Last Will and Testament, and two forms of identification.

Once submitted, the Surrogate Court will prepare qualification papers and schedule a videoconference appointment for “virtual qualification.” During the virtual qualification videoconference, a representative will be required to produce two forms of original identification of each applicant and witness for the Probate Clerk’s viewing. In addition, each applicant and witness must submit a proof of address. Once the videoconference is concluded, all of the original signed documents are to be mailed to the Surrogate’s Court along with full payment of the Surrogate’s fees. Once the Surrogate receives the complete submission, it will issue Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration.

It must be noted that following the rescission of the public health emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order No. 103 of 2020, the Order will no longer be effective.

If you are an Estate Executor or Administrator looking for help navigating the Probate process, or if you have any questions about Estate Administration, please feel free to contact one of Meyerson, Fox, Mancinelli & Conte, P.A.’s Estate attorneys for advice.