The expenses involved in probate proceedings are common reasons for concern among Florida residents, as anticipating the costs may help you determine whether it is better to use legal tools to avoid probate altogether.
Read on to discover the average costs of Florida probate.
Handling Probate in Florida – The Basics
- If the value of the decedent’s estate is less than $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years, the estate may qualify for summary administration.
- If the value of the decedent’s estate exceeds $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for less than two years, the estate may go through formal administration
Summary administration is cheaper and quicker, while formal administration is the most expensive and time-consuming form of probate in Florida.
Average Cost of Probate in Florida – In-Depth Review
Summary administration is the cheapest form of probate in Florida. Depending on how much the decedent’s estate is worth and the simplicity of the case, the guidance of an attorney is optional.
Formal administration is significantly different in terms of expenses, as the designation of a personal representative is crucial for the entire process. Additionally, Florida law requires the personal representative to be represented by a licensed attorney, which results in attorneys’ fees.
Other costs include:
- The court’s filing fee (generally ranging between $300-$400)
- Personal representative’s bond fees
- Accounting fees
- Publication costs to notify creditors (around $100 in most cases)
- Costs with certified postage (varies with the number of interested parties)
- Additional costs to probate any deceased’s assets held in multiple jurisdictions (if applicable)
- Translation of documents (if applicable)
The costs may increase exponentially if there is contention among the parties involved in probate, whether it is creditors, heirs, beneficiaries, or any other party. Hence, it is fundamental to avoid litigations during probate.
Attorney’s Fees in Florida Probate
The main cost in a Florida formal administration is the attorney’s fees. Florida Statutes §733.6171 details all the rules for the compensation of the personal representative’s attorney. Florida Statutes (2)(b) specifies that:
- “There is not a mandatory statutory attorney fee for estate administration
- The attorney fee is not required to be based on the size of the estate, and the presumed reasonable fee provided in subsection (3) may not be appropriate in all estate administrations
- The fee is subject to negotiation between the personal representative and the attorney
- The selection of the attorney is made at the discretion of the personal representative, who is not required to select the attorney who prepared the will
- The personal representative shall be entitled to a summary of ordinary and extraordinary services rendered for the fees agreed upon at the conclusion of the representation
- The summary shall be provided by counsel and shall consist of the total hours devoted to the representation or a detailed summary of the services performed during the representation”
Florida Statutes §733.6171(3) requires that the “compensation for ordinary services of attorneys in a formal estate administration is presumed to be reasonable if based on the compensable value of the estate, which is the inventory value of the probate estate assets and the income earned by the estate during the administration.”
Do You Want to Minimize the Cost of Probate in Florida? – Contact Your Florida Probate Lawyer Today
The larger an estate is, the higher probate costs are. Plan ahead and minimize costs by calling Attorneys Romy B. Jurado and Diana C. Collazos at (305) 921-0976 or emailing [email protected] for expert guidance.