Acting as the personal representative of a loved one’s estate in Florida is a challenging process. Many who take on this role have no prior experience with the administration process and are surprised with how complicated state probate matters can be. Typically, state law requires personal representatives to hire an attorney, with only limited exceptions to this rule.
One issue that many families face is the fees associated with Florida probate. While the bulk of the cost is attorneys’ fees, other additional costs like court filings, publishing notices, and other related expenses add up quickly. These fees are unavoidable, and knowing ahead of time what to expect can help you and your attorney determine if your loved one’s assets are enough to cover the associated costs.
Florida probate law requires that any fees an attorney charges be reasonable. If the court deems they are not, it can reduce how much can be charged for legal costs. This is important to keep in mind when retaining a skilled probate lawyer to assist you in administering the estate. Any amount agreed upon for their services will come from the decedent’s assets, reducing how much beneficiaries will receive.
To help prevent situations of unreasonable attorney fees, state statutes have outlined what is considered reasonable compensation for legal representation based on the value of an estate. It’s important to remember the compensable value of your loved one’s estate does not include homestead property value or certain smaller types of personal property. Only assets that do not fall in these limited categories will be considered contributing to the decedent’s estate.
Other costs and fees related to the probate process will need payment to allow your case to move forward. Your attorney will help you in keeping track of the costs incurred, which could include:
You might also be entitled to compensation for any attorney’s fees you paid upfront. Florida statutes allow this cost to be paid out of your family member’s estate without having to file an action in court. The only time you would not be able to receive reimbursement of this expense is if the estate is only made of exempt assets.
Should family members decide to contest the decedent’s final directives or validity of their will, related fees will balloon significantly. This is why having a knowledgeable estate attorney by your side can help prevent conflict and advise you on minimizing the costs you might incur. The Legacy Law Firm provides skilled probate representation for uncontested estate matters throughout the state of Florida.
Florida offers four different types of probate proceedings. Each has its own required fee schedules and qualifying criteria which depend upon the circumstances of the decedent’s estate. Below is a quick overview of the state’s four types of estate administration options:
Formal administration is what most families in the process of probating a loved one’s estate will experience. Because this process will clear the title of a decedent’s assets regardless of value, this is typically the best method for most estates.
For estates where the decedent passed away over two years ago or their estate’s total value is less than $75,000, summary administration can shorten the probate process significantly. A knowledgeable probate attorney can best determine if your loved one’s assets meet this threshold.
If your loved one lived out of state but owned property in Florida, an ancillary administration may prove helpful. There are instances where one could save on probate fees and related costs using this method.
Disposition Without Administration
This probate process only takes place if there is no real property to be transferred and is not an exempt asset. To qualify, a decedent’s property value cannot exceed their final expenses, including their funeral costs and medical bills.
Taking on the administration of a loved one’s estate is a time-consuming process that can be expensive and draining. Trying to navigate the complexities of Florida probate law when you are still processing a family member’s death is a difficult experience that you don’t have to navigate alone. Let The Legacy Law Firm guide you and take this legal burden off your shoulders. Our experienced probate attorney has extensive fiduciary experience and regularly represents individuals in this challenging position.
The Legacy Law Firm is here to support you in determining the best approach for your circumstances. Having the right representation and counsel can prevent complications from arising, such as undue delay or unnecessary stress. We are here to help you every step of the way. Call (954) 999-9683 today to schedule a consultation.
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