County of Monmouth

February 7, 2011

Wills, probate, guardianship:
what you need to know

Monmouth County Surrogate available to speak to groups

FREEHOLD, NJ – What happens if you do not properly prepare your will? Who will get the silver tea service that has been in your family for generations? What will happen to the 1965 Mustang parked in the garage?

Monmouth County Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters can help you and members of your group or organization answer questions such as these at your next meeting. 

“Most people don’t realize the many costs of not preparing a will,” Peters said. “Financial, practical, and emotional costs can be great if someone does not prepare properly.”

Peters, an attorney, is available to speak with your group and share her insights on this topic and other matters handled by the Surrogate’s Office. Topics for speaking opportunities are:
The Many Costs of Not Having a Will – Trying to save money by not having a proper will can lead to headaches and additional costs for your heirs.
Probate Problems of the Rich and the Famous – Leona Helmsley, Ted Williams, Marlon Brando and Ray Charles have something in common besides being rich and famous; the feuds over their estates offer lessons in the issues that can arise over who gets what.
Guardianships and Conservatorships: When someone can no longer handle their affairs – One of the side effects of greater longevity has been the increased number of applications for guardianships or conservatorships; learn what you need to know about how the process works and the steps you can take to avoid going into court.

“As the county’s Surrogate, I’ve learned a great deal about the different ways in which people approach issues regarding their estates and financial matters,” Peters said. “While some people take the time to get their affairs in order, others leave decisions about the eventual distribution of their assets up to their family and friends – or let it lapse to the state Treasury.” 

To make arrangements for the Monmouth County Surrogate to speak to your group or organization, call 732-431-7330, ext. 7331.
The county Surrogate has the authority to qualify executors and trustees named in wills, to appoint administrators for those who die without wills, and to appoint guardians for minors and legally incapacitated persons. The Surrogate’s Office is also responsible for overseeing the procedure in contested estate matters, in the declaration of incapacitation, in appointment of guardians, and in the granting of adoptions in the Superior Court of New Jersey.

The Surrogate’s Court is a department of county government, as well as a branch of the Superior Court of New Jersey in the Chancery Division. The Surrogate serves as Deputy Clerk of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Probate Part, and Chancery Division, Family Part for adoptions, as well as Judge of the Surrogate’s Court.

To learn more about the County Surrogate’s Office log onto the Monmouth County government Web site at

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