The most common form of probate in Florida is formal administration. In formal administration, the court closely supervises the collection and distribution of the decedent's assets. The estate will be opened once a personal representative has been appointed by the court to act on behalf of the estate. Once open, the administration part of the process begins. We will handle each step and guide you towards the closing of the estate.
Summary administration is possible for small estates in which:
- the estate contains less than $75,000.00 in non-exempt assets (typically assets other than the decedent's home) OR
- at least 2 years have passed since the date of death
However, even if the estate meets one of the above criteria, summary administration is not possible if there is a will that requires formal administration (although such a requirement is very uncommon).
Summary administration is usually quicker and less expensive than formal administration. Nonetheless, there are some circumstances in which it is better to have a formal administration even if a summary administration is possible. An attorney can advise you if a formal administration should be considered. There is no personal representative appointed in a summary administration. Rather, there is simply a petition and order for the distribution of the property.
Our Probate Rates - How much does it cost to probate an estate in Florida?
Keep in mind there are differences between fees and costs. Let's first go over the attorney's fees for a Florida probate. You will see that our firm is happy to offer reasonable rates, and you don't have to make an appointment to find out what we typically charge.
For summary administration in which the decedent passed away over two years ago, there are no special or extraordinary issues, and all interested parties are in agreement, our attorney's fee is a flat fee of $750.00 plus costs (costs are not included).
For summary administration in which the decedent passed away less than two years ago, there are no special or extraordinary issues, and all interested parties are in agreement, our attorney's fee is a flat fee of $1,500.00 plus costs (costs are not included).
If you feel that you have a special case that impacts the fee, let us know, and we will look at it . . .you don't want to spend $1,500 to get $700 from a bank account, and we understand that . . . so, talk to us, and we will see if we can work something else out in those situations.
For Formal Administration, Florida Statutes sets out what is deemed to be a reasonable fee if there are no extraordinary circumstances, but we can usually beat it. Here is what the statutes say:
"(1) Attorneys for personal representatives shall be entitled to reasonable compensation payable from the estate assets without court order.
(2) The attorney, the personal representative, and persons bearing the impact of the compensation may agree to compensation determined in a different manner than provided in this section. Compensation may also be determined in a different manner than provided in this section if the manner is disclosed to the parties bearing the impact of the compensation and if no objection is made as provided for in the Florida Probate Rules.
(3) Compensation for ordinary services of attorneys in 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 as provided in the following schedule:
(a) One thousand five hundred dollars for estates having a value of $40,000 or less.
(b) An additional $750 for estates having a value of more than $40,000 and not exceeding $70,000.
(c) An additional $750 for estates having a value of more than $70,000 and not exceeding $100,000.
(d) For estates having a value in excess of $100,000, at the rate of 3 percent on the next $900,000.
(e) At the rate of 2.5 percent for all above $1 million and not exceeding $3 million.
(f) At the rate of 2 percent for all above $3 million and not exceeding $5 million.
(g) At the rate of 1.5 percent for all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million.
(h) At the rate of 1 percent for all above $10 million."
From Florida Statutes section 733.6171
However, we can usually come in lower and offer a deal. If there are no extraordinary circumstances in the case, we may be able to offer you a flat rate attorney's fee of $1,500 down and $1,000 before the case closes, for a total of $2,500 (not including costs). If there are circumstances that warrant an hourly fee, we can do $1,500 down and $150.00 per hour. All fees must be paid before the probate estate is closed. So, feel free to give us a call, and set a consultation. We will look at the circumstances of the case and give you a good price. We want you to be pleasantly surprised by our tremendous service and not surprised by any tremendous bills!
Costs - costs are the expenses of the case that must be paid out to move the case forward. While, the attorney usually collects the costs, the attorney does not keep costs money. Rather, it goes directly to the source of the cost. In a typical probate proceeding, costs would include items such as the court's filing fee (usually about $350 to $405), certified postage (usually depends on the number of creditors and beneficiaries that will need notices), and the costs charged by the newspaper to publish the legal notice to creditors (usually around $100), etc. There can be more costs in a contentious case. There can also be costs related to appraisals and formal accountings if that is necessary. Sometimes it depends on the size of the estate and the issues and people involved.
IF YOU ARE READY TO TAKE THE FIRST STEP TOWARD GETTING THE PROBATE PROCESS STARTED and COMPLETED, CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION OR CALL (813) 438-8708.