Dealing with a Mistake on a Death Certificate When Estate Probate is Required

HNWEstate Administration and Probate


A client’s father died while visiting his daughter in upstate NY.  The father was a resident of Bergen County, NJ.  NY issued a NY State Death Certificate listing the daughter’s NY residence as the father’s residence.  I directed the client to ask the NY funeral director to reissue the death certificate showing his Bergen County address as his residence of domicile so his Last Will could be probated instead of sending it off to the applicable NY department.  In response, the funeral director crossed off the typed NY address and hand wrote the Bergen County address.  The funeral director advised “that’s the way we do things in NY.”  The question was whether the Bergen County Surrogate will accept a crossed-out Death Certificate.

This event is common.  We have had similar mistakes in Essex County, Ocean County, and throughout New Jersey.

In many cases, the death occurred overseas where the client owned a vacation home or had family members as residents in those countries.

After much wrangling, we generally are able to probate the estate in the county of the decedent’s domicile.

What we will offer is an affidavit with a bank account showing a NJ address, a NJ driver’s license, NJ voting card, NJ utility bills, etc.

An affidavit from friends or family member is also helpful to persuade the Surrogate’s Office.

If you are looking for additional details on this topic or if you require advice about your situation, please contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at  Please ask us about our video conferencing or telephone consultations if you are unable to come to our office.

By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright, a Freehold Township, Monmouth County, NJ Estate and Probate Litigation Attorney

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