Practice and procedure is governed by the Surrogate's Court Procedures Act (SCPA), Estates, Powers and Trust Law (EPTL), Mental Hygiene Law (MHL) and the Uniform Rules for Surrogate's Court. If no provisions are found therein, the Civil Practice Law and Rules (CPLR) and other pertinent laws apply.
Surrogate's Court files and Court records are located in the County Center in Little Valley, New York. Support staff consists of a Chief Clerk and two full time employees. It is the staffs' responsibility to review all papers filed for compliance with statutory and rule requirements; schedule court appearances; issue citations; prepare decrees, letters, and certificates of authority; collect filing fees; maintain index books; record certain documents; and provide State approved Court forms (when available) to the public. Administrative duties include budget preparation, review of vouchers and time sheets, purchasing, reviewing annual accounts, and data processing.
Most of this Court's files are open for public inspection. (Adoptions and estate tax proceedings are sealed.) These records are frequently searched by genealogists looking for family history recited in the various wills and documents on file. A review of our records is also done by abstract companies as part of their search to report on title to land. The old, closed files frequently generate as much interest as the estates in progress.