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Good News for New Yorkers — Surrogate’s Court Records are Back Online

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{Read in 3 Minutes}  As a Trusts and Estates attorney, I am frequently handling matters in the Surrogate’s Court, whether it is offering someone’s Will for probate, having an Executor appointed, dealing with an accounting proceeding, or even visiting the record room. The Surrogate’s Court has been a near-daily part of my life for almost 20 years now.

In January 2020, I was very pleased to hear that New York State was making Surrogate’s Court records available online. This was hugely helpful because it meant that I could simply sit at my desk to check on the status of a matter as opposed to going to the record room at the Courthouse. And, of course, starting in March 2020 with the onset of the COVID pandemic, going to the Courthouse was something that simply wouldn’t be possible for quite a while.

In January 2021, the Courts started making online records available, going back several years for the Surrogate’s Courts of six different counties. They were up online for maybe the better part of 10 weeks. I blogged about it, sharing the good news.

Of course, shortly after I published my article, the website went offline, resulting in a lot of emails from my readers asking me why the link was to a service that no longer existed. I wouldn’t exactly call it fan mail, but I wouldn’t exactly call it hate mail either. Fortunately, my readers and I came to understand that we just needed to wait for these records to be available online, once again.

Guess what? That day has finally come! As of March 2022, the program is back online and operational and is even expanded to more than the original six counties. As of March 1, 2022, online records are available for over half the counties in New York! To access this service, you can visit WebSurrogate, where you can see the full list of available counties and search records by name or file number.

Needless to say, I am excited about this (again) and hopefully, I won’t be disappointed if the website goes offline (again). At the end of the day, I give the State of New York and the Court system a lot of credit in getting this information up online. Some counties’ Surrogate’s Courts have records going back over two hundred and fifty years that need to be scanned and uploaded. 

Finally, if your county’s Surrogate’s Court is not yet available, have patience. The state presently has plans to get the Surrogate’s Court records for all 62 counties on WebSurrogate, and they are adding more counties all the time. Keep checking back and hopefully, the information you need will eventually be available from the comfort of your own office or home.

For more information on this topic, please contact me.