In a Florida probate administration, the person appointed personal representative has a lot of responsibilities. For all of this work, can the personal representative be paid? Yes! Florida law provides that the personal representative in a Florida probate administration can be paid through the assets of the estate.
Under section 733.617(1), Florida Statutes, “A personal representative shall be entitled to a commission payable from the estate assets without court order as compensation for ordinary services. The commission shall be 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 administration.”
Similar to the presumptively reasonable fees for the attorney representing the personal representative, the fee for the personal representative is based upon the compensable value of the assets of the estate under section 733.617(2), Florida Statutes. The presumptively reasonable fee that a personal representative is entitled to under Florida law is as follows:
- 3 percent of the first $1 million.
- 2.5 percent for the value above $1 million but not exceeding $5 million.
- 2 percent for the value above $5 million but not exceeding $10 million.
- 1.5 percent for the value above of compensable assets above $10 million.
Furthermore, also similar to the compensation for attorneys, the personal representative is entitled to additional compensation for the completion of certain extraordinary services under section 733.617(3), Florida Statutes. These extraordinary services include:
- The sale of real or personal property.
- The conduct of litigation on behalf or against the estate.
- Involvement in proceedings for the adjustment or payment of any taxes.
- The carrying on of the decedent’s business.
- Dealing with protected homestead.
- Any other special services which may be necessary for the personal representative to perform.
There are other interesting elements to be included when considering the compensation of the personal representative in a Florida probate administration. If the will provides for a different calculation of compensation for the personal representative, the compensation for the personal representative will be calculated according to the will. Also, if the compensable assets of a Florida probate estate exceed $100,000 and there are co-personal representatives named under the will, then each personal representative is entitled to the presumptively reasonable fee. Therefore, each personal representative will be entitled to 3 percent of the first $1 million in compensable assets in the estate if there are co-personal representatives named under the will.
Any interested person can challenge the amount of fees awarded to a personal representative and request that the fees be increased or decreased. In the event there is a request for additional or decreased fees for the personal representative, the court is required to consider the following elements for the amount of fees under section 733.617(7), Florida Statutes:
- The promptness, efficiency, and skill with which the administration was handled by the personal representative;
- The responsibilities assumed by and the potential liabilities of the personal representative;
- The nature and value of the assets that are affected by the decedent’s death;
- The benefits or detriments resulting to the estate or interested persons from the personal representative’s services;
- The complexity or simplicity of the administration and the novelty of the issues presented;
- The personal representative’s participation in tax planning for the estate and the estate’s beneficiaries and in tax return preparation, review, or approval;
- The nature of the probate, nonprobate, and exempt assets, the expenses of administration, the liabilities of the decedent, and the compensation paid to other professionals and fiduciaries.
- Any delay in the payment of the compensation after the services were furnished; and
- Any other relevant factors.
A personal representative can also renounce his or her right to compensation under a will or to any compensation whatsoever under section 733.617(4), Florida Statutes. In fact, in our experience, the vast majority of personal representatives renounce their right to compensation under the will or under Florida law. This occurs because the majority of personal representatives are members of the decedent’s family. A member of the family does not typically want to be paid and considers being the personal representative a duty to his or her deceased family member and to the other members of the family. However, the decision to renounce compensation is up to the personal representative, and just because a personal representative is a member of the decedent’s family, the personal representative is not under any legal duty to renounce payment for his or her services. Therefore, even if you are a member of the decedent’s family, you are entitled to payment if you are named the personal representative.
If you are named as a personal representative in a will, contact us today for a free consultation. During the consultation, our attorneys will be able to provide you with an overview of the probate process, an estimate of the cost, and answer any other questions you may have about the probate process. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
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