Both the personal representative and the attorney for the estate are entitled to reasonable fees for their services. The fees are not set by the Court, unless there is an objection by one of the heirs (or even an unpaid creditor) to the proposed fees. The Florida Probate Code contains provisions that state what fees are presumed reasonable, but the Court, if asked to do so, may increase or decrease those fees. The personal representative and attorney for the estate are also entitled to reimbursement for their expenses, and should keep a record of all expenses incurred. The Code provides for payment of about 3% of the assets to the P.R. for the P.R.'s services, and also provides that the following attorney fees are reasonable:
(a) $1500 for estates having a value of $40,000 or less.
(b) An additional $750 for estates having a value of more than $40,000 and not exceeding $70,000.
(c) An additional $750 for estates having a value of more than $70,000 and not exceeding $100,000.
(d) For estates having a value in excess of $100,000, at the rate of 3 percent on the next $900,000.
Please note: the value of the homestead is not included in the 3 percent figure; for instance, with a $100,000 estate plus a $200,000 homestead, the basic attorney fee is $3,500.00 (3% of the $100,000 and a flat fee of $500 for uncontested homestead proceedings).
In addition to the basic fee, there is a statutory list of other services which may include:
(a) Involvement in a will contest, will construction, a proceeding for determination of beneficiaries, a contested claim, elective share proceeding, apportionment of estate taxes, or any other adversarial proceeding or litigation by or against the estate.
(b) audit or collection of any taxes.
(c) Tax advice on postmortem tax planning, including, but not limited to, disclaimer, renunciation of fiduciary commission, alternate valuation date, allocation of administrative expenses between tax returns, ... deduction of last illness expenses, fiscal year planning, distribution planning, asset basis considerations, handling income or deductions in respect of a decedent, valuation discounts...
(d) Review of estate tax return and preparation or review of other tax returns required to be filed by the personal representative.
(f) Purchase, sale, lease, or encumbrance of real property by the personal representative or involvement in zoning, land use, environmental, or other similar matters.
(g) Legal advice regarding carrying on of decedent's business or conducting other commercial activity by the personal representative.
(h) Legal advice regarding claims for damage to the environment or related procedures.
(i) Legal advice regarding homestead status of real property or proceedings involving that status.
(j) Involvement in fiduciary, employee, or attorney compensation disputes.
(k) Proceedings involving ancillary administration of assets not subject to administration in this state.
More on attorney fees...
A substantial savings in Attorney fees for my clients revolves around the relatively low overhead associated with my law practice. At downtown law firms paying small fortunes for European artwork, Italian marble, panoramic views and sky high rent, it is a simple fact of economics that those costs must be passed on to the client.
Reduced fees for Summary Administration...
If the Decedent has been dead for at least 2 years, or if the assets consist mainly of the homestead, then it may be possible to proceed with Summary Administration, in which case the attorney fees are normally a flat fee. The attorney fees for Summary Administration are usually between $900.00 and $1200.00, while the Court costs range from a low of $238.00 to about $348.00, depending on the type of assets. If the only assets are, for example, a car worth $10,000.00, stock worth $2,000, and a home worth $150,000.00, Summary Administration may well be available. Summary Administration is appropriate when the matter is uncontested among the heirs, and when there are no significant creditor issues. It's okay for their to be creditors, unless there are unusual circumstances.
Call us to discuss fees and costs on our Toll Free Number: 877-591-6800