Accomplishments

Since taking office in January 2020, Surrogate Judge Heather Darling has made significant advancements to the Surrogate’s Court, including services such as virtual filing of probate documents, electronic payments, and electronic scheduling.  To fully enable virtual transactions, she advocated for electronic wills and electronic signatures on qualifying documents in New Jersey probate matters.  As part of her massive Surrogate’s community outreach, Surrogate Darling created “60 Seconds with the Surrogate” on social media in addition to speaking to governing bodies and organizations countywide to educate Morris County residents on how to best prepare, access and utilize the services of the Morris County Surrogate’s Court.  Surrogate Darling also partnered with the Morris County Bar Association to provide a reduced-fee probate attorney program for those who qualify.

2020

Almost immediately after taking office in January 2020, devised methods to remain open safely on a normal business schedule to serve the citizens of Morris County throughout the pandemic.

Created and employed a new electronic probate platform now used by multiple surrogates throughout.

Partnered with Morris County Bar to provide a reduced fee probate attorney program for those who qualify financially.

Partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association of NJ to raise awareness.

Brought back the “Citizens Guide to Wills, Trusts, and Estates”, with updates, edits, and additions.

Began virtual “Surrogates Sessions” for community outreach during the pandemic.

Successfully championed the reopening of workforce programs for individuals with disabilities.

Placed Surrogate’s forms, books, and other key information on the Surrogate’s website in PDF format.

2021

Prepared the first-ever Surrogate’s annual report to bring transparency to operations.

Introduced “the personal record” booklet to help organize and store information to serve as a roadmap for family members during probate or emergency.

Was sworn in as Section Chief of the State Surrogate’s section and Secretary of the Constitutional Officers Association of NJ (COANJ).

Was behind two Bills pending before the NJ State Legislature relating to electronic wills and signatures.

Served as honorary chair for Employment Horizons Annual Awards Dinner, receiving the government advocacy award for championing the reopening of workforce programs for individuals with disabilities in 2020.

Continued massive online and in-person speaking engagement outreach to educate individuals on how to prepare for end-of-life events as well as dealing with our office.

2022

Testified before the NJ State Senate Judiciary Committee in support of S2923, electronic wills bill.

Served as vice president of COANJ.

Deployed an online credit card payment module for Morris citizens’ convenience.

Deployed an online appointment scheduling platform for Morris citizens’ convenience.

Began serving on the Community Advisory Board of Employment Horizons

Ambassador for 200 Club of Morris County

Continued speaking engagements with citizens and municipal governing bodies.

2023 

Currently serving as President of COANJ

Serving as Chair of state Surrogates’ Section on electronic wills.

Serving as Surrogates’ section alternate representative to the New Jersey Association of Counties (NJAC)

Creating and producing 60 Seconds with the Surrogate online education short videos for community outreach.

Why I am the best choice for a Surrogate Judge?

I will continue to bring my compassion, experience, and drive to the Morris County Surrogate’s Court on behalf of all of Morris County’s citizens, especially our most vulnerable residents. I have been protecting and advocating for people’s rights my entire career and I look forward to continuing to serve Morris County.