New York was one of the states greatly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In result, numerous rules and procedures in regards to probate filing with the Surrogate’s court have changed. The King’s County Surrogate Court has increased its reliance upon E-Filing documentation during this period of time to ensure that the rate of spread remains minimal and can be effectively controlled. The New York State Courts E-Filing System is referred to as NYSCEF and is utilized to provide guidance for procedures used to process filings, fees, and court calendaring. It is important to make note of the case types eligible for E-Filing and the cases that are ineligible.The Surrogate's Court hears cases involving the affairs of decedents, including the probate of wills and the administration of estates, as well as adoptions.
Cases Eligible for E-Filing
The case types that are eligible for E-Filing include: Consensual E-Filing, Hybrid Proceedings, and Specific Documentation for E-Filing. Consensual E-Filing takes place in Probate, Administration, Accounting, and Guardianship cases that are commenced to the King’s County Surrogate on or after June1,2020. These proceedings should be commenced by filing all necessary documents through the NYSCEF. If you would like assistance in filing this paperwork it would be helpful to contact an experienced New York Estate Attorney to ensure that all documentation is effectively filed. Hybrid Proceedings imply that the court is now willing to accept documentation in the form of e-filing that previously had to be submitted through direct paperwork as a result of Covid-19. For all documents that must be e-filed it is extremely imperative that all documents be filed with the court in a NYSCEF case using the specific NYSCEF system in place.
Cases Not Eligible for E-Filing
The case types that are not eligible for E-Filing include Declaration of Consent cases. Attorneys who choose not to consent to e-filing in a declaration of consent proceeding are encouraged to file a declination of consent with the court. Keep in mind that unrepresented litigants in a consensual proceeding are not required to either decline consent or to attach the Notice of Hard Copy Submission – E-Filed Proceeding to any of their hard copy filings. If you have any inquiries in regards to how your Declaration of Consent case is being handled it is recommended that you reach out to a New York Estate Attorney to discuss the actions taken to ensure that the
procedure is effectively conducted.
E-Filing Documents in the Surrogate's Court
To partake in e-filing with the court, reach out to a New York Estate Attorney to run an inquiry on the last name of the descendant to determine if a file is already open. It is imperative not to make any mistakes in entering the information for the case, as any errors can delay the process. An attorney that is participating in e-filing will submit a Notice of Hard Copy Submission – E-Filed Proceeding for any hard-copy documents submitted. The death certificate must be e-filed and the original will be submitted within two days of the e-filing. The will will be scanned and the original will be submitted within two days of the e-filing. All decrees and orders will be filed through NYSCEF. Stipulations will be e-filed and submitted to the court when “so ordered” by the court. Papers may be:e-filed (for more information, visit the NYSCEF web page at www.nycourts.gov/efile); or brought to the courthouse in person and placed in the boxes located by the Court Officer’s desk on the 5th Floor; or filed by mail (USPS or any express mail service) according to New York Court’s regulations in regards to Covid-19. The filed paperwork will be reviewed by the court staff in the order in which they are received, however this does not guarantee that this will be done on the same date that they are filed. Court personnel may contact petitioners or their counsel as needed once filed papers are reviewed via email communications.
Payment of fee requirements for the SCPA can be made by credit card payments made via NYSCEF or by payments made at the court. Keep in mind that review by the court may substantially change your expected costs. In this circumstance the court will contact the filer through email to state the proper amount and include any additional fees that must be paid. If you make the decision to pay using a credit card at time of filing on the NYSCEF website, enter credit card information directly on the website. If you choose to pay at the court, take note that documents are not “filed” until the full payment is received, or else the court will not process the documents. In the case that any issues arise during e-filing, the filer will be notified by a member of the court staff via email communication using the NYSCEF system. The Resource Center can be reached at 646-386-3033 or email@example.com.