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The Unified Court System Has Instituted E-filing in all Surrogate’s Courts Statewide. Please review counties below for more info on voluntary vs. mandatory e-filing.

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Thank you for helping those in need!

As New York State remains at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore and Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks announced on May 14, 2020, that the State’s Surrogate’s Courts, which operate in each of New York’s 62 counties and handle the administration of estates among other cases, are preparing for the influx of Coronavirus-related estate matters.

Effective as of May 18th, new, uncontested estate cases involving individuals who passed away from Coronavirus-related conditions may now be filed in Surrogate’s Court. Additionally, New York’s Surrogate’s Courts are committed to handling these critically-important cases as promptly and efficiently as possible.

To complement these efforts, the New York State Bar Association, in partnership with the New York State court system and with assistance from other bar groups, is developing a network of volunteer lawyers, like yourself, to provide free legal representation in New York’s Surrogate’s Courts to families who cannot afford a lawyer in these cases.

Please review the following training portal to assist you with any questions or resources that you may have in order to assist your clients with their needs.

Surrogate Court e-filing is open in the counties listed below as authorized in the most recent Administrative Order

Consensual/voluntary e-filing permitted in: 
Bronx, Broome, Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Kings, New York, Nassau (beginning 6/29), Orange, Otsego, Queens, Richmond and Tompkins

Mandatory e-filng in the following Counties: 
Albany, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Franklin, Fulton, Genesee, Herkimer, Jefferson, Livingston, Monroe, Montgomery, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Saratoga, Schenectady, Seneca, Steuben, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Westchester, Wyoming and Yates

If you haven’t already submitted your interest in volunteering, please do so below.


View our website designed for members of the public:




  • If matched, you will receive an email from a NYSBA Staff Member with information on your client’s legal matter.
  • You will have 48 hours to review and either accept or deny the referral. Please reply promptly. If you do not accept the matter within this time frame, it will be reassigned to another attorney to ensure we can match those in need as quickly as possible.
  • Volunteers agree to abide by the requirements of NYSBA’s policy on confidentiality and the Statement of Confidentiality linked here.


  • Malpractice insurance is provided to volunteer attorneys through the New York State Bar Association.
  • Please note that pro bono lawyers filing a DIY Form such as the Small Estate Affidavit must submit this pro bono affirmation to the Surrogate’s Court.


Any attorney interested in being matched with a client(s) must complete the following complimentary program before we’re able to do so. We encourage completing the program within 2-3 days of initially submitting your information on our sign up website.


COVID-19 Pro Bono Volunteer Training: Navigating Estates & Surrogate’s Court


Office of Court Administration Surrogate’s Court E-Filing Training Program.  Although not required, the training program is strongly recommended for anyone unfamiliar with the e-filing process.



In the interest of providing as much assistance as possible to our volunteer attorneys, below are additional programs that you can complete if you require more information on assisting clients with the filing of a small estate.

Please use discount code: ProBono during checkout in order to add the program to your account at no charge.


Preparing and Filing a Probate Petition in Surrogate’s Court (2020)


Ethical Issues in Surrogate’s Court Practice (2020)


Probate and Administration of Estates (2018)


NYSBA has created an online community forum for volunteers to share information and relevant resources and materials.  Please do not use this forum to request cases or to discuss the personal details of any case assigned to you.


You can also send a message to the online community using the following e-mail address:

[email protected]

Surrogate’s Court Checklists

These checklists formulated by the Fourth Judicial District are supplied for your use in completing petitions of common proceedings filed in Surrogate’s Court and for which there are official forms. A checklist works through each paragraph of any particular petition. It is anticipated that the 4JD Checklist Committee will annually update these forms so please contact the court for information as to which checklists may have been changed, corrected or added by the committee within the past year.

General Forms

Administration Forms

Probate Forms