Surrogate’s Electronic Document Imaging System
The Surrogate Electronic Document Imaging System has been developed to provide this public
service department with an efficient, automated process for the recording, retrieval, and
archiving of documents that are filed with the Surrogate’s Office. Under its role in
serving the public, the Surrogate performs a number of functions as the appointee to
represent the interests of those who are unable to represent themselves. These services
include probating Wills, appointing Administrators, appointing Guardians for minors,
handling applications for Adult Incapacitated Persons, Conservatorships, Adoptions,
and most other matters involving estates and the assets of minors. As a part of these
services, the Surrogate’s Office must record all documents related to these cases and
provide access to documents as required by State statute.
The Surrogate Electronic Document Imaging System developed by Specialty Systems, Inc.
provides the Surrogate’s Office with the ability to scan case documents, record index
information relevant to the documents, and store the index data and documents
electronically in a centralized database. This centralized database can then be used for
rapid retrieval of documents by performing intelligent searches on the data. The
functionality significantly reduces the time required to find desired documents. The
index data recorded with the initial document scanning also allows the public to find
documents without having to know a specific case #. In addition, the electronic document
imaging system significantly reduces the department’s physical storage space requirements.
Implementing the Surrogate Electronic Document Imaging System provides greater operational
efficiencies and improved services for the Surrogate’s office:
- Documents can be scanned more quickly than microfiche or microfilm production processes.
- The number of times hardcopy document need to be ‘handled’ by office staff is reduced.
- Office staff can access desired documents more quickly.
- Self-service is promoted as the general public, attorneys, title searchers and others can search for and locate documents without the assistance of the Surrogate’s office staff.
- Physical storage space requirements are reduced
The Surrogate Electronic Document Imaging System is comprised of the following functions:
Document Scanning & Indexing
The scanning function will allow the user scan a document and enter index
information about the document. Index data is used at a later time to retrieve
the desired electronic document (i.e. docket #, name of party, type of document,
township, date, etc.). After completing the scanning/indexing process, the electronic
image of the document and its index data are saved into the system’s database.
This function will allow a user to query the database via any of the index fields – i.e.
docket #, last name, date of death, address, etc. After entering their query information,
the program queries the database and return a screen of results that lists all the documents
in the database that match the user’s query parameters. The user will select a document and
view the electronic image of the document. The user will also be able to print the document. For
the general public and outside professional users (i.e. attorney firms, title search firms) the
system can generate a fee for the hardcopy printout of documents.
Copy Images to CD Utility
This function will allow a staff person to copy electronic documents for a range of dates to a
CD. The CD can be used for off site archival and delivery to a third party vendor for microfilm
creation, if required.
Rapid Implementation and Ease of Use
The system is designed for ease of use, with an intuitive user interface that requires minimal
training. In fact, the document searching process, which is widely used by the public, requires
virtually no training due to its intuitive design.