Determining whether a deceased person’s estate should go through probate involves several factors, including the size of the estate and whether it is worth filing for court-supervised administration. How is probate calculated in Florida? Read on to find exclusive insights.
Are All Estates Subject to Probate in Florida? – The Basics
Before filing for probate, it is crucial to identify whether probate is necessary. Florida Statutes §735.301 (1) provides that “no administration shall be required, or formal proceedings instituted upon the estate of a decedent leaving only:
- Personal property exempt under the provisions of s. 732.402
- Personal property exempt from the claims of creditors under the Constitution of Florida, and
- Nonexempt personal property the value of which does not exceed the sum of the amount of preferred funeral expenses and reasonable and necessary medical and hospital expenses of the last 60 days of the last illness”
If an estate qualifies for disposition without administration, the decedent’s loved ones can inherit without going through probate. Florida law has two types of probate – summary administration and formal administration.
If the total value of the decedent’s estate is worth less than $75,000 or the decedent has been dead for more than two years, the estate qualifies for summary administration. In most cases, summary administration takes only a few weeks to complete.
How is Probate Calculated in Florida? – Taking a Closer Look
The costs involved in probate must be paid from the decedent’s estate. In terms of percentage, the main cost of probate proceedings in Florida is the amount paid in attorneys’ fees.
An estate subject to summary administration incurs fewer expenses, as there is no statutory requirement to hire a licensed attorney. Although it is not legally required, working with an expert attorney is the best approach to avoid costly mistakes.
Formal administration is the most expensive form of probate in Florida. The court must appoint a personal representative (or executor) to administer the estate, which requires due compensation once probate is closed.
Unless the person appointed as the executor is licensed to practice law within state jurisdiction, Florida law requires the personal representative to hire a professional attorney. If an estate is formally administered, a licensed attorney must be involved in the process.
The costs involved in a standard formal administration usually include:
- Filing fees (e.g., court procedures, recording documents, etc.)
- Executor’s bond fees (if applicable)
- Accounting fees
- Publication costs (creditors’ notice)
- Certified postage expenses (issuing notice to interested parties)
- Attorneys’ fees
- Executor’s compensation fee
- Translation of documents (if applicable)
An estate consisting of assets located in multiple states may require ancillary administration, which significantly increases the total costs.
It is fundamental to avoid disputes during the process, as it may result in an exponential increase in probate costs. Will contests, disputes between multiple heirs or beneficiaries, and other issues can create a lengthy and costly experience.