A frequently asked question from potential clients relates to Florida probate costs. Some people want to know how much the probate will cost before starting the process.

And, if the estate is relatively small, knowing the probate cost can help you determine if it’s worth it.

The Florida Probate Costs can be identified as costs associated with court-supervised proceedings for identifying and collecting a deceased’s assets, paying the deceased’s debts, and distributing the deceased’s assets to its beneficiaries.

We will discuss the costs of probate in Florida in this article.

A woman holding the wrist of an old man as they both sit together and talk about the costs of probate

Florida Probate Fees Costs

The main cost in a Florida probate is usually the fees of lawyers.

While there are other costs such as filing, accounting, and publication expenses, the majority of probate expenses are related to the fee paid to the lawyer who represents the estate’s personal representative(s). And since, for most probate cases, Florida rules require a probate attorney, attorney fees are usually an inescapable part of the probate process.

What is considered ‘reasonable attorney fees’ in Florida?

In the setup between the lawyer and the personal representative, the attorney’s fees for Florida probate are agreed upon.

But since the amount paid to the lawyer reduces the amount that would otherwise be received by the heirs or beneficiaries, According to Florida law, Section 733.6171(3) of the Florida Statutes requires that the expenses be “reasonable.”[i]If the fees are unreasonable, the court has the power to reduce the fees for the lawyer.

Like in many fields of law, assessing attorney’s fees “reasonableness” is inherently subjective.

In a particular situation, two people may disagree on whether a fee is reasonable. 

The probate judges see enough cases they know how much an estate will cost.

Reasonable attorney fees overview

According to the law in Florida, when the compensable value of the estate exceeds $40,000 and is not eligible for summary administration, a formal administration of an estate must take place.

In comparison with the compensable value of an estate, the following examples are considered probably reasonable fees:

  • For estates of $40,000 or less: $1,500
  • For estates between $40,000 and $70,000: $2,250
  • For estates between $70,000 and $100,000: $3,000
  • For estates between $100,000 and $900,000: 3% of the estate’s value
  • For estates between $1 million and $3 million: 2.5%
  • For estates between $3 million and $5 million: 2%
  • For estates between $5 million and $10 million: 1.5%
  • For estates of $10 million and above: 1%

Understanding Probate costs in Florida

Costs are the case’s expenses which need to be paid out to move the case forward. While the attorney usually gathers the costs, the attorney doesn’t keep the money for the costs. Rather, it goes straight to the cost source. In a typical probate proceeding, costs could include items such as the filing fee of the court (typically about $300 to $400), certified postage (generally depends on the number of creditors and beneficiaries who will need notices), and the costs charged by the newspaper to publish the legal notice to creditors (usually around $100), etc. In a contentious case, there may be more costs. Costs related to assessments and formal accountings may also occur where necessary.

What does it cost to probate a will in Florida?

The probate process starts when the executor, someone who was previously appointed by the deceased and named in the will, deposits the will of the person with the court. The costs and expenses to probate a Will vary according to the size of the estate. The cost of probating a will in Florida is very heavy because the applicant not only involves payment for the attorney’s fees, but other expenses need to be carefully weighed if the case is filed with the circuit court.

You need to expect the following costs in a nutshell:

  • Attorney fees

  • Accountant fees

  • Court filing fees and executor bond fees

  • Extra costs for additional, out-of-state probate costs for assets held in multiple jurisdictions

  • Publications/notices fees

  • Translation of Will/documents if any

Significant and unexpected costs will emerge if someone feels left out or slight and wants to challenge the will. A disputed Will may extend the cycle for years for large estates, and cost a lot of money.

Probate costs can be high, particularly in large, complex estates. This requires some preparation in advance to minimize costs. Please speak to our probate attorney at the Finity Law Firm in such a case.

References

  1. The 2019 Florida Statutes | Online Sunshine
  2. How Much Are Florida Attorneys’ Fees? A Quick Look at Cost | Casal & Moreno

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