History of the Surrogate
The Passaic County surrogate is an elected constitutional officer, who is acknowledged as a judge in Surrogate’s Court. The surrogate of your county is using authorities, which trace back to the archbishop of London and beyond the archbishop into the Roman emperors and the Bible. As long as there have been wills, orphans, and the incapacitated, there have been judicial officers to probate the will, to appoint guardians for minors and the incapacitated, and to supervise the handling of their affairs.
Surrogates in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the person who passes on the validity of a will, gives the executor proof of his/her authority to administer the estate, and sees to it that the executor handles the estate properly, is called the surrogate. Each county has a Surrogate's Court and the surrogate is the judge of that court. He or she is elected for a term of five years, pursuant to the Constitution of New Jersey, by the people of the county in which he or she has jurisdiction. The word "surrogate" means "one who speaks for another."
Duties of Today's Surrogate
Today the county surrogate administers an office which is almost certain to touch the lives of every person in the county at some time. Aside from the appointment of a guardian of a person and/or property of a minor, the supervision of an adoption, or a hearing for an incapacitated person, as examples, it is increasingly common, after death, to visit the surrogate for the appointment of someone to handle the estate of the deceased.