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Florida Probate Attorney Fees

I.       Executive Summary

Florida probate attorney fees depend on whether the proceeding is Summary Administration – usually the quickest and least expensive – or  Formal Administration.   Many factors will enter into the fees, including whether the probate is contested, is subject to estate and other taxes,  involves the sale of real estate, and requires advice regarding homestead.

It is now common for the decedent to have  both a will and revocable living trust.  Such cases may require probate of the will and administration of the trust.

Our office provides a complimentary probate/trust review. Call us at (305) 556-5209 or email attorney Phil Rarick at prarick@raricklaw.com and we will give you a Checklist of Documents we need for the review as well as a Checklist Of  Tasks for the Personal Representative (known as executor in other states).    Upon review, we can give you a good faith estimate of the attorney fees provided the estate is not contested and all beneficiaries cooperate.

II.      Summary Administration

Summary administration may be used for either a resident or non-resident decedent’s estate if (a) the value of the decedent’s entire estate subject to administration in this state, exclusive of exempt property, does not exceed $75,000; or (b) the decedent has been dead for more than two years, regardless of the size of the estate. F.S. 735.201(2)

Note: The “value” is the gross as opposed to the net value of the estate.  The decedent’s homestead is not considered part of the gross estate.  Therefore, Summary Administration is available if the only asset in the estate is the homestead regardless of value.

Attorney’s Fees for Summary Administration: Summary Administrations are usually charged at the attorney’s hourly rate. After reviewing the will (if there is one), inventory, and death certificate, we can give you an estimate of our fees.

III.    Formal Administration

This administration must be used if the decedent’s estate does not qualify for summary administration: the decedent’s estate exceeds $75,000, or the decedent has been dead for less than two years, or the will requires formal administration. Strategically, if the decedent had all assets in a trust, formal administration may be advisable to clearly cut off creditor claims.

Attorney’s Fees for Florida Probate Formal Administration: Florida law sets forth a presumptive statutory fee schedule for probate attorney fees as follows:

–        $100,000-$1 million:     3%
–        $1 million-$3 million:    2.5%
–        $3 million-$5 million:    2%

Additional fees may be charged at an hourly rate for extraordinary services, such as will contest, sale of real estate, preparation of a Federal estate tax return, etc.  See F.S. 733.6171.

Personal Representative’s Fees for Formal Administration: The Personal Representative (“PR”), the person legally in charge of the estate, is also entitled to fees for his or her services.  The fee rates for the PR are similar to the attorney rates. See F.S. 733.617.

IV.    Conclusion

Rarick & Beskin has been entrusted by over 400 law firms and many individuals during the past 18 years to probate small to complex estates and administer trusts. After the loss of a loved one, we endeavor to help you close the estate in the least stressful way.   For a complimentary consultation, call attorney Phil Rarick at (305) 556-5209.

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