Answer by Miami Probate Attorney Phillip B. Rarick, Esq.
It can be expensive. According to a study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), attorney fees for probate are usually three percent or more of the estate’s gross value. Florida presumptive statutory probate fees for attorneys (F.S. 733.6171) are approximately:
|Estate Florida Probate Fee|
These fees are not the total cost of probate: they do not include the Personal Representative’s fee, which are often paid to a family member or waived. If not waived, the Personal Representative’s fees can be up to 3% of the total probate estate.
Probate takes time – usually 9 months to 2 years. During this time, your assets will be frozen
(unless you wish to incur the expense of a bond) so an accurate inventory can be taken, and
nothing can be distributed or sold without the court and/or personal representative’s approval.
Loss of Privacy. Probate is a public process. An “interested party” can find out details about your estate, including who the heirs are, what they will receive, their addresses, etc. This information is sometimes used as “business” leads by solicitors.
Loss of Control and Intervention of the Courts in your Family Affairs. The probate judge— not you or your family—has supervision over how your Will is interpreted, how much probate will cost, how long it will take, and what information is made public. Families are accustomed to handling their affairs privately and independently. Suddenly, losing that control to a legal process and having to pay for it can be frustrating.
Wills Cannot Plan for Disability. This is the most serious, yet least understood limitation of Wills. Disability is the lack of capacity to manage your own affairs. Think about this for a few moments. If you can’t handle your affairs because of mental or physical incapacity – for example, if you have a stroke or a heart attack, develop Alzheimer’s Disease, or are injured in an auto accident—who will conduct business for you? Sooner or later, your signature will probably be required for something—to withdraw savings, sell/ refinance assets to pay your expenses, etc. Unless you have legally given another person the legal authority to sign for you, you will not be able to transfer these assets without the intervention of the probate court.
For information about how to avoid probate click here: How To Avoid Probate?
For more information about Florida Probate click here: Florida Probate Quick Reference Guide.
The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an attorney that is experienced in Florida estate planning law. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.