About the Surrogate Court
The Surrogate Court was established by the New Jersey Constitution. It is governed by state statutes as the court in each county responsible for certain statutory and assigned duties and functions related to wills, guardianships of minors and incapacitated people. The office has its origins in English law, where the bishop of the region would appoint a substitute, or “surrogate”, to handle certain affairs. Eventually, this authority evolved from church officials to civil officials.
The Camden County Surrogate
Patricia Egan “Pat” Jones was sworn in as Camden County Surrogate in 2001 after serving as a Camden County Freeholder. Active in her community, county and state for more than thirty years, Surrogate Jones has continuously played a leadership role in a host of nonprofit and service organizations. Currently her memberships on public boards include the Camden County Chapter of the American Red Cross and Larc School. Pat is also cofounder of the Home Port Alliance, the group that brought the Battleship New Jersey home to the Camden Waterfront.
An outstanding alumnus of Rutgers University-Camden, she also serves on the Advisory Boards of both the Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences. Surrogate Jones was honored to be selected as one of Rutgers’ “fifty finest” graduates during their 50th Anniversary celebration held in 2000.
Functions of the Surrogate
Probate of Wills - Probate is the process whereby a Last Will and Testament is proved to be valid by the Surrogate and documents are issued authorizing the executor to transfer assets in accordance with the wishes of the testator.
Administration - When someone dies without executing a Last Will and Testament, the Surrogate’s Court appoints an administrator/administratrix and issues letters authorizing the transfer of assets in the decedent’s name. A surety bond is generally required.
Intestate Succession - When someone dies without a Last Will and Testament the laws of New Jersey provide for the distribution of property to their heirs through a process called intestate succession.
Guardianships - The Surrogate’s Court can issue a judgement to establish a guardianship for a minor. The Surrogate’s Court serves as Clerk of the Superior Court in filing the necessary application for the guardianship of an incapacitated adult.
Trusts - When a trust is created in a Last Will and Testament, the Surrogate appoints the named trustee to administer the trust.
Adoptions - In the adjudication of adoption matters in Camden County, the Surrogate’s Court serves as the Clerk of Superior Court. In this process our office reviews the applications and schedules their hearings before the Superior Court. The Surrogate’s Court also maintains the files under seal as required.
Management/Investment of Minors' Funds - The Surrogate’s Court receives, manages and invests funds for minors as ordered by Superior Court. Currently, there are 972 accounts for minors’ funds, with approximately $27 million invested by the Surrogate’s Court.
Records - The Surrogate’s Court maintains records and microfiche of all estates probated in Camden County and all Superior Court proceedings related to the office dating from 1851.
Visiting Surrogate Program- The Surrogate’s Court provides the full range of our services to the physically challenged and individuals who are confined to their homes through a “visiting surrogate” who literally brings the office to their homes.
January 2014 - Starting the Year on the Right Foot!
December 2013 - Senior Citizen Legal Workshops
November 2013 - Celebrating National Adoption Month
Contact the Surrogate Court
The Honorable Patricia Egan Jones
Camden County Surrogate's Court
In order to serve you better, we are currently rebuilding our website, for information on forms required or the fee for an application, please contact our office at 856-225-7282.