Restricts access to records kept by the surrogate's court for business or commercial purposes; makes certain exceptions; and requires any person seeking access to books or records of the court to complete a form which shall disclose such person's name, address, telephone number and purpose of such access.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the surrogate's court procedure act, in relation to restricting certain access to records kept by the court
PURPOSE: To prevent mourning survivors from being harassed by vendors.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: This legislation amends subdivision 8 of section 2501 of the surrogate's court procedure act. persons wishing to examine open surrogate's court records will be required to fill out a form stating that the records will not be used for a business or commercial purpose. The form will require disclosure of the person's name, address, telephone number and purpose of such inspection. Such person will be required to agree, under penalty of perjury, that any information obtained from such books and records will not be used for business or commercial purposes. It also provides that such person or agent will not contact any member of a decedent's family or any beneficiaries of a decedent except for claims and entitlements directly related to the decedent's estate. The completed forms will be retained by the court.
JUSTIFICATION: Persons who have recently lost loved ones have become the victims of bothersome and upsetting phone calls and letters from private investors who are eager to purchase property left to the family through the estate or to sell items to survivors. These investors had obtained their information from the surrogate's court open records. Although the court does not give out phone numbers, it is not difficult for the investors to get this information once they have the other information provided by the court records. It is unconscionable that grieving family members should be harassed in this way. This legislation will reduce or eliminate this practice as, under penalty of perjury, the investors will be prohibited from contacting the decedent's family except for claims or entitlements relating to the estate.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This bill was previously introduced.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: There will be minimal cost to the surrogate's court to maintain the records.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeeding the date on which it shall have become law; provided, however, effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rules or regulations and the production of forms necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1213 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 6, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary AN ACT to amend the surrogate's court procedure act, in relation to restricting certain access to records kept by the court THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 8 of section 2501 of the surrogate's court procedure act is amended to read as follows: 8. All books and records other than those sealed are open to inspection of any person at reasonable times PROVIDED, HOWEVER, ACCESS TO SUCH BOOKS AND RECORDS IS NOT FOR A BUSINESS OR COMMERCIAL PURPOSE. A BUSINESS OR COMMERCIAL PURPOSE SHALL NOT INCLUDE A DEBTOR OF AN ESTATE SEEKING ACCESS TO RECORDS OF SUCH ESTATE OR AN ATTORNEY SEEKING ACCESS TO BOOKS AND RECORDS ON BEHALF OF AN INTERESTED PARTY, ESTATE OR BENEFI- CIARY. ANY PERSON SEEKING TO INSPECT ANY BOOKS OR RECORDS, OTHER THAN THOSE SEALED, SHALL COMPLETE A FORM WHICH SHALL BE PROVIDED BY THE COURT. SUCH FORM SHALL REQUIRE SUCH PERSON SEEKING ACCESS TO ANY SUCH BOOKS AND RECORDS TO DISCLOSE SUCH PERSON'S NAME, ADDRESS, TELEPHONE NUMBER AND PURPOSE OF SUCH INSPECTION. SUCH PERSON SHALL BE REQUIRED TO AGREE, UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, ANY INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM SUCH BOOKS AND RECORDS SHALL NOT BE USED FOR BUSINESS OR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES, EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THIS SUBDIVISION, AND SUCH PERSON OR AN AGENT OF SUCH PERSON SHALL NOT CONTACT ANY MEMBER OF A DECEDENT'S FAMILY OR ANY BENEFICIARIES OF A DECEDENT, EXCEPT FOR CLAIMS AND ENTITLEMENTS DIRECTLY RELATED TO SUCH DECEDENT'S ESTATE. COMPLETED FORMS SHALL BE RETAINED BY THE COURT. S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law; provided however, effective immediately, the addition, amendment and/or repeal of any rules or regulations and the production of forms necessary for the implementation of this act on its effective date are authorized and directed to be made and completed on or before such effective date.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD05034-01-1