Cost is a common factor in estate planning considerations, and for good reason. Probate is notoriously costly, causing many people to go to great lengths to avoid the probate process altogether. Taking the appropriate steps to avoid probate is important not only so that your heirs can avoid the cost of probate, but also so that they will not have to deal with the time and stress involved with the process.
However, if probate is required, it is important to have a clear understanding of the costs before beginning the process. Probate costs in Florida may range significantly depending on what type of estate administration is required, how complex your estate is, and what preparations you’ve made beforehand. A large part of being prepared is knowing upfront what costs to expect.
General Guidelines for Probate Attorney’s Fees and Costs
Probate costs in Florida include attorney’s fees, filing fees, publication costs, and certified copy fees, among others. Filing fees are typically around $235 – $400. Publication costs vary but generally do not exceed a few hundred dollars. A larger portion of the expenses will go to attorney’s fees. For summary probate administration (the shortened form of probate in Florida), probate attorney’s fees generally do not exceed $2,500 – $3,500. However, that fee may be less or more, depending on the complexity and size of the probate.
For formal probate administrations, probate attorney’s fees may be based on a fixed-rate pricing (or a fixed-rate pricing combined with a percentage model) and will often depend on the size and complexity of the estate. There are occasions when formal estate administration is more complex, resulting in increased probate costs. There are also circumstances in which the estate administration is more straightforward, in which case the attorney’s fees should be reduced to reflect that. It is important to gather the information about the assets and heirs of the estate early on so that your probate attorney can provide you with an accurate estimate of the costs.
Florida Attorney’s Fee Statute for Formal Probate Administration
The Florida legislature has also set forth a statute that provides a layout of what is presumed to be reasonable for probate attorney’s fees in Florida for formal administrations. The statute makes it clear that this is not a mandatory guideline – it is only meant to serve as a model of what is considered reasonable.
The statutory compensation set forth Section 733.6171, Florida Statutes, is:
- $1,500 for an estate valued at $40,000 or less
- $2,250 for an estate valued at more than $40,000 but not more than $70,000
- $2,000 for an estate valued at more than $70,000 but not more than $100,000
At values of $100,000 or more, the statutory model switches from a flat fee to a combination of flat-fee and percentage-based fees, which become more complicated to calculate as the value of the estate increases. The flat $3,000 for the first $100,000 still applies. Then, the statute sets forth a percentage-based compensation as follows:
- 3% of any value between $100,000 and $1 million
- 2.5% of any value between $1 million and $3 million
- 2% of any value between $3 million and $5 million
- 1.5% of any value between $5 million and $10 million
- 1% of any value above $10 million
Per the Florida statutes, attorneys may also charge additional fees in the event that someone contests the will, where sale of real property is involved, if the estate has to file a tax return, or when an audit is required. The Florida statutes also provide that a personal representative of an estate is entitled to compensation based on the value of the estate, and there is also a separate fee schedule for that.
Probate Attorney’s Fees Personalized to Your Case
At Farshchian Law, we prefer to offer a fee structure that fits your case to help ensure that you pay for the services that you actually need. For summary probate administrations, we offer fixed-rate pricing. For formal administrations, we will discuss your case with you and offer you either a fixed-rate price, or a combination of a fixed rate with a percentage model that will either be less than or equal to the statutory model set forth above.
Start with Your Free Consultation
Florida probate is not an easy process to navigate, so it is understandable if you have questions or concerns. At Farshchian Law, we offer free consultations so you can begin an estate administration informed and prepared. We also give you a straightforward quote for the probate attorney’s fees and costs so that there are no surprises later on. If you would like to ease the burden of probate and work with an experienced team of probate professionals, call us at (305) 901-5628 or (239) 935-8599, or email us at Probate@JFRealEstateLaw.com.