The Surrogate's Court maintains jurisdiction over all actions and proceedings relating to the affairs of decedents, including the probate of wills and administration of estates. The Surrogate's Court in Tompkins County also processes guardianships and all adoption proceedings.
Tompkins County Surrogate's Court has records of decedents beginning in 1818. Indices of court files are available and can be viewed during business hours. Some files may be viewed with the use of microfiche or microfilm. The index book for the period 1818 through 1910 is only available on microfilm.
All adoption records are sealed and are not accessible to anyone without a Court order. The estate tax returns filed between May 1990 and January 2001 are also sealed. Public access to other certain documents may be limited, or subject to written permission, pursuant to court rules:
- All documents in guardianship proceedings
- Death certificates
- Tax returns
- Documents containing social security numbers
- Firearms inventory
- Inventory of assests
Land records, an incomplete set of census records, and other information is available in the Tompkins County Clerk's Office which is located in the basement of the courthouse.
Effective May 14, 2013, Tompkins County Surrogate's Court accepts Efiled proceedings, except for Guardianships, Intervivos Trust Matters and Adoptions.