31 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
Main Phone: (646) 386-5000
|Miscellaneous/ Calendar Clerk
|Guardian / Adoption
|Cashier / Certificates / Certifications
|Records Search & Certifications
|Law Department Reception Area
Office of the Public Administrator
New York County
Subway Directions: 4, 5, 6 or J trains to Chambers St./Brooklyn Bridge; 1, 2, 3 or 9 trains to Chambers Street.
Monday-Friday, 9:00 Am to 5:00 PM.
But keep in mind that many clerks leave early at the end of the day, and can be on a break during lunchtime. Also, trying to file things at the end of the day is not a good idea, especially on Friday.
The court is closed on all state holidays.
Hon. Nora S. Anderson. Hon. Anderson is tough but fair. She is a seeker of justice. Her prior work includes serving the people of New York as an attorney for the Legal Aid Society. She has experience working for the disadvantaged New Yorkers. She has experience working as an attorney in private practice, and as such, she exhibits courtesy and understanding to all attorneys who appear before her. She has been a Manhattan Surrogate Court judge since the year 2009.
Judge Nora S. Anderson’s courtroom number is 509.
Hon. Rita Mella. Hon. Mella is the first Latina to be elected as a Manhattan Surrogate Court judge. She was born in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic. She started out as a judicial assistant in the Probate Court in Brooklyn with many judges, including the legendary Hon Margarita Lopez Torrez, was working in the New York court system for many years and was a Criminal Court judge before being elected as the Judge of the Surrogate’s Court. She is a serious legal scholar. Judge Mella is a good listener and takes her time to find out the details of every case. She has been a Manhattan Surrogate Court Judge since the year 2012.
Judge Rita Mella’s courtroom number is 503.
Both judges have a staff of clerks who help them analyze cases and conduct pre-trial, scheduling and settlement conferences.
Deputy Chief Clerk
Ms. Sanabria really shines during the Manhattan Surrogate Court calendar call. She does the scheduling and logistics. She helps the court and attorneys get through the calendar and get things done.
Manhattan Surrogate Court is located on the fifth floor of 31 Chambers Street. It is arguably the most beautiful courtroom in New York and one of the most beautiful courtrooms in the entire United States, if not the world. It has to be seen to be believed. The same can be said of the lobby of the building which hosts the Manhattan Surrogate Court.
Manhattan Surrogate Court deals through its various departments with the following matters:
New York County Probate – Manhattan Surrogate Court handles estate proceedings involving a will. Most probate proceedings are uncontested – the person who brings in the will (the proponent) submits the will, has their New York estate lawyer fill out the appropriate paperwork and files the original will in the Manhattan Surrogate Court, together with a petition, original death certificate, funeral bill, and accompanying affidavits and notices. The court will set a date for the hearing on the probate of the will, and if no one appears then the court will grant the probate. If someone does appear, then the estate is contested and the examinations of the attesting witnesses and the attorney-draftsman of the will are scheduled and the cases go on a contested track.
New York County Estate Administration – Manhattan Surrogate Court handles estates where the person who died did not have a will. The person who is the closest relative of the deceased is appointed as the administrator of their estate. If the decedent is survived by a spouse, the spouse is usually appointed as the administrator. If no spouse, then children. And so on.
New York County Guardianship – Manhattan Surrogate Court handles Guardianships. There are two kinds of guardianships – those involving a mentally disabled (special needs) minor (those guardianships are known as 17-a), and guardianships of older adults who have become mentally incompetent due to some sort of illness (this is known as Mental Health Law Article 81 guardianships)
New York County Adoptions – Manhattan Surrogate Court also handles adoptions, whether of regular adoptions, step-parent and family adoptions and adoptions from foreign countries, involving both infants and older children.
Record Room – Manhattan Surrogate Court records are available on the computers located in the record room and on the computer. It is not possible to access those records online through the internet.
You can request information about an estate from the Manhattan Surrogate’s Court by writing to the following address:
New York County Surrogate’s Court
31 Chambers Street, Room 402
New York, NY 10007
You will need to write them a letter with the correct legal name of the person who died, and include a check for $30 made out to New York County Surrogate’s Court, and either a return stamped envelope or your email address to receive the information.
New York County Accountings – Manhattan Surrogate Court handles accountings filed by executors and administrators of estates and trustees of trusts. Accountings are usually compelled by beneficiaries interested in the trust or an estate, through a Miscellaneous proceeding.
New York County Miscellaneous Proceedings – Manhattan Surrogate Court Miscellaneous department handles Affidavits of Service and Applications to Open Safe Deposit Boxes and Sealed Apartments. It also handles other proceedings, such determining kinship in an estate that has distant relatives, advice and direction, compel fiduciary to account, compel the production of a will or a trust, proceedings by a New York fiduciary to discover property, proceeding to remove executor, proceeding to remove administrator, proceeding to remove trustee, proceeding by fiduciary of estate to discover property, etc. Fees for those proceedings can be found here.
If you need an attorney for Manhattan Surrogate Court, call Albert Goodwin, Esq., a New York estate, guardianship, wills, trust and probate lawyer with over a decade of experience.