A will is a document created by a person that sets forth that person's wishes for the distribution of his property after he dies. To give legal effect to the will of a New Jersey resident, the will must be filed with a New Jersey Surrogate's Court. After the will has been filed with the Surrogate's Court, it becomes a public record, accessible by any interested individual. Obtaining a copy of a will filed in a New Jersey Surrogate's Court requires filing a records request with the appropriate New Jersey Surrogate's Court.
Determine where the decedent's will was admitted to probate. New Jersey does not have a statewide searchable database of probated wills. Under New Jersey law, the proper venue for submitting a will to probate is either the New Jersey county where the decedent was a resident or any New Jersey county where the decedent owned property. You may need to check with the Surrogate's Court in multiple counties to determine where the will was filed.
Read More: Statute of Limitations on Contesting a Will in New Jersey
Navigate to the website of the appropriate New Jersey Surrogate's Court. No New Jersey Surrogate's Court permits an individual to obtain a copy of an individual's will online. Obtaining a copy of a probated will involves filing a records request. The New Jersey Courts System maintains an online listing of all New Jersey court systems (see Resources).
File a records request with the appropriate Surrogate's Court and pay the filing fee. The website of the county Surrogate's Court should list their procedure for filing a records request. You may need to call the Surrogate's Court to determine the procedure. While the fee varies among the counties of New Jersey, obtaining a copy of a will can cost between $5 and $20, as of 2010.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images