We here at The Day Law Office often see clients who have recently had loved one pass away in Hernando County and are now fearful about having to deal with the probate process. As you have delved deeper into your own estate planning, you have probably heard many experts say that probate should be avoided if possible. This advice is not necessarily due to problems with the process itself, but rather the costs associated with it. Probate expenses are paid directly from an estate’s assets. Thus, an estate that you may be party to could see its value diminished from being probated.
At first glance, the costs associated with probate may seem fairly straightforward; after all, the state has established a fee schedule that attorneys must follow when working through probate. According to Section 733.6171(3) of Florida’s Estates and Trusts Code, probate attorney fees depend on the compensable value of the estate. The fee schedule breaks down as follows:
- Estates valued at less than $40,000: $1,500
- Estates valued between $40,000 and $70,000: $2,250
- Estates valued between $70,000 and $100,000: $3,000
- Estates valued between $100,000 and $1 million: $3,000 plus 3 percent of the value above $100,000
- Estates valued between $1 million and $3 million: $30,000 plus 2.5 percent of the value above $1 million
- Estates valued between $3 million and $5 million: $50,000, plus 2 percent of the value above $3 million
Attorney fees continue to increase at a commensurate rate up to a value of $10 million, at which point the fee caps at $165,000 plus 1 percent of the value above $10 million.
While these fees may seem minuscule in comparison with the value of the estate, keep in mind that an attorney may also charge for any extraordinary services rendered, such as helping with a will dispute or estate tax matters. More information on dealing with the probate process can be found by continuing to explore our site.