So, you’ve been named as the executor of a family member’s estate, and they’ve just passed away. You’re probably asking yourself, “How much are Florida probate attorney fees?” It’s a reasonable question, considering you probably want to find someone to handle all the legal matters as quickly and inexpensively as possible.
In Florida, the statute that covers what an attorney’s fees can be is found here. Need a quick run-down? We’re here to help!
How Florida Probate Attorney Fees Are Decided
According to the statutes, a formal administration of an estate must take place when the compensable value of the estate exceeds $40,000 and doesn’t qualify for summary administration. The following examples are considered presumptively reasonable fees when compared to the compensable value of an estate:
- 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%
Depending on your case’s complexity, your attorney may also charge an hourly rate to your estate.
When we talk about the compensable value of an estate, what we mean is the value of the estate minus the homestead property of the estate and certain personal property. Anything else goes toward the compensable value of the estate, against which an attorney can base their fees.
Don’t Want to Pay Florida Probate Attorney Fees? Start Estate Planning
To demonstrate how much you might end up paying a probate attorney, let’s look at a few different examples. For an estate whose compensable value is $300,000, you could end up paying $9,000 in Florida probate attorney fees. A $2 million estate could owe $50,000. A $12 million estate could owe $120,000. As you can see, the amount you could end up paying in attorney fees can add up quickly, especially if many of your assets are not exempt, which is why it is so important to start estate planning now.
An estate plan considers all of your estate’s property and takes legal steps to protect it from probate.
Avoiding Florida Probate Attorney Fees Altogether
Looking to avoid the expense and time it takes to go through probate? Consider creating an estate plan to avoid probate entirely. Probate administration can take years and, as you can see, cost thousands. Unfortunately, probating an estate only creates another administrative task for asset distribution. Therefore, many choose to allocate assets using a will or trust document which avoids the use of the courts altogether.
Six strategies to avert probate for your loved ones
1. Living Trust
A living trust avoids the headache of probate because a fiduciary can administer your estate and transfer your assets to beneficiaries without going to court first. A living trust is a common way to avoid probate because a trustee does not require oversight from the courts for this aspect of distributing your property.
2. Payable on Death Accounts
You can use an account that is “payable on death” to bypass the probate process. This ensures that when you die, the money will go directly to your beneficiary without complications surrounding your banking account. These types of accounts are controlled by you until the time of your death and can be used in addition to other estate planning tools for assuring your banking future.
3. Ladybird Deeds
Having a ladybird deed in place can keep your property from passing through probate. As an enhanced life estate, a ladybird deed is designed to pass ownership to the beneficiary upon the current owner’s passing. The beneficiary has full rights to the asset, including making changes and reselling the possessions.
The proper use of titles, such as joint ownership with rights of survivorship or tenancy by entirety can reduce the need for probate. When a property is titled properly it will pass to its intended beneficiary without passing through probate. This same process can work for cars.
It’s important to have a plan in place for after you pass so your loved ones don’t have to worry about finances and more. Drafting a will is not always enough. Providing a trust or using other tools are great ways to solve the issue of probate
Finding Affordable Probate Representation
Attorney fees are an important topic to discuss with an estate lawyer before you start. Attorney fees can be negotiated and can result in scaling back what your lawyer charges. Attorney fee rates are just general provisions related to the kind of legacy service being required. You should know what sort of legal task is needed, along with how much work is involved before beginning any probate administration.
Contact a Probate or Estate Planning Attorney Today
If you need help handling a deceased loved one’s estate as it goes through probate, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will work with you to keep costs low. Want to avoid probate altogether? Don’t wait another second. Get in touch with us now to start planning for the future of your estate and your family. Our attorneys know how to protect your estate.