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Filing Fees in the New York Surrogate’s Court

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{Read in 4 Minutes}  As a Trusts and Estates attorney, I frequently appear in the Surrogate’s Court for a variety of proceedings. The Surrogate’s Court — like most Courts — charges filing fees for documents that are filed or recorded with the Court, and sometimes for documents that one needs to obtain for the Court. I thought it might be helpful to talk a little bit about the current filing fees in the various Surrogate’s Courts within the state of New York to give you an idea of what these fees run.

For probate proceedings (when a nominated Executor offers a Will for probate), Administration Proceedings (when someone dies without a Will), or Accounting proceedings (when an Executor or Administrator accounts to the beneficiaries on how they calculated their respective shares) the filing fee varies depending on the size of the Estate in question.

  • It can run as little as $45, or it can run as high as $1,250. The amount of the fee varies between these two extremes depending on the value of the Estate.
  • For Voluntary Administration Proceedings (this is a simple and straightforward Estate where the deceased died with less than $50,000, all of the next-of-kin are known, there’s no need to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem for parties under disability, and the value of all assets is less than $50,000) the filing fee is the best deal in town: $1. It will cost you more to ride the subway down to the Courthouse.
  • If someone needs to open a safe deposit box or search a residence to find the original Last Will and Testament, the filing fee is $20.
  • If someone wants to amend or lift restrictions on Letters of Administration, the filing fee is $75.
  • If a beneficiary or creditor wishes to have the Court remove the Executor or Administrator for not properly doing their jobs, the filing fee is $30. This is also the fee if the Executor or Administrator wishes to resign.
  • If a surviving spouse wishes to have the court determine the value of their minimum distribution, (known as the Right of Election) the cost is $75. 
  • To file a petition to appoint a guardian of the person or property for a minor costs $20.
  • If the Executor or Administrator wants to start a discovery proceeding to recover property payable to the Estate that they believe is wrongfully in someone else’s possession, the filing fee is $75. If a beneficiary wishes to compel an Executor or an Administrator to account, the filing fee is $30.
  • If somebody wants to file objections to the probate of a Will, the filing fee is $150. If they want to demand a jury trial, there is an additional filing fee.
  • If an Administrator needs to post an Administrator’s bond, the filing fee is either $20 or $30, depending on the face amount of the bond.

These are the fees to start or deal with pending proceedings. Sometimes people need to pay fees to the Surrogate’s Court to get documents. For example, if someone needs a Certificate of Letters, such as Letters Testamentary or Letters of Administration, those cost $6 per certificate.

All of these fees are outlined in their statutes and are readily accessible online here. While these filing fees are minor, parties should be aware of how much they are, especially if they are going to proceed without an attorney.

For more information on this topic, please contact me.