How much does probate cost?

 

In Florida, probate attorney’s fee amounts for attorneys hired by the personal representative are set as presumptively reasonable by section 733.6171(3) of the Florida Statutes as the presumptively reasonable fees for the services of attorneys in a formal administration of the probate estate. A formal administration of an probate estate occurs when the compensable value of the estate is over $40,000.00 and does not otherwise qualify for summary administration. The compensable value of the estate is the inventory value of probate estate assets and the income earned by the estate during the administration.

 

The following fees are presumptively reasonable according to corresponding compensable value of the estate, according to section 733.6171(3) of the Florida Statutes:

 

  1. $1,500 attorney’s fee for estates having a value of $40,000 or less.
  2. An additional $750 for estates having a value of more than $40,000 and not exceeding $70,000.
  3. An additional $750.00 for estates having a value of more than $70,000 and not exceeding $100,000.
  4. For estates having a value in excess of $100,000, at the rate of 3% on the next $900,000.
  5. At the rate of 2.5% for all above $1 million and not exceeding $3 million.
  6. At the rate of 2% for all above $3 million and not exceeding $5 million.
  7. At the rate of 1.5% for all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million.
  8. At the rate of 1% for all above $10 million.
  9. Furthermore, under section 733.6171(4), “In addition to fees for ordinary services, the attorney for the personal representative shall be allowed further reasonable compensation for any extraordinary service. What is extraordinary service may vary depending on may factors, including the size of the estate.” In section 733.6171(4), examples of extraordinary services are listed.

 

The compensable value of a probate estate excludes the value of the homestead property of the decedent (person who passed away) and a small amount of personal property. Any assets in the probate estate above and beyond the homestead and personal property exemptions of the decedent are counted towards the compensable value of the probate estate.

 

Here are some examples of calculations of presumptively reasonable probate fees under Florida law in several situations:

 

  • Estate value of $200,000, excluding homestead property exemptions: $6,000 presumptively reasonable fee for attorney for personal representative
  • Estate value of $90,000, excluding homestead property exemptions: $3,000 presumptively reasonable fee for the attorney for personal representative
  • Estate value of $1.5 million, excluding homestead property exemptions: $42,500 presumptively reasonable fee for the attorney for personal representative

 

As you can see, depending on the compensable value of the probate estate, a probate administration of a large estate can become quite costly. This is why it is important, especially if you have a large amount of nonexempt assets, to consult with an attorney about conducting estate planning. A proper estate plan that considers all of your assets and is able to take the proper legal steps can avoid entering probate after you pass away, making sure your loved ones are spared expensive attorney’s fees.

 

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