When dealing with end-of-life legal issues you may hear the word, “probate.” In this post, we will define probate, share examples of the probate process, and provide contact information to hire a probate attorney in Florida. In addition, we will address the question, “What expenses should I expect when hiring a probate lawyer?” This is an important question and this information can help you and your family get through a difficult time more smoothly.

What is Probate?

The court-supervised probate process is followed in nearly all cases for a deceased person in Florida. In a typical probate proceeding, a personal representative (sometimes referred to as an executor or executrix) gathers assets, pays debts, and distributes assets and property to beneficiaries. This can take months to years, especially for complex estates.

End-of-life legal issues can be complicated so a knowledgeable probate attorney is a valuable asset. They are experts at preparing and filing court documents, inventorying personal property, estate assets, and debts, distributing assets according to your wishes, and navigating complicated issues around a deceased person’s estate.

Common Florida Probate Expenses

Now that we’ve highlighted the importance of having a qualified probate attorney, you may be wondering about the costs of probate. Probate fees can vary, but there are some expenses you can expect:

  • Fees to pay your attorney (further explanation below)
  • Filing fees for the court and paperwork
  • Accounting, land survey, and appraisal fees
  • Reasonable compensation for executors or trustees
  • Executor/probate bonds required by some Florida county courts

These are the types of probate costs that need to be paid for the probate proceeding to move forward. Your probate attorney will help you understand which probate costs you are responsible for, as well as gather and distribute them on your behalf. People with attorneys have an advantage when dealing with these common fees and processes.

How Much Will My Attorney Cost in Florida?

Florida’s status as a “reasonable compensation state” may make your attorney fees the top expense in the probate process. Rather than an hourly rate, the state has a statutory fee schedule based on the value of an estate that is commonly used. However, this is not required and fees can be determined in different ways in your representation agreement.  When using the statutory fee schedule, if an estate is valued at $200,000, the attorney fees will be higher than if the estate is valued at $90,000, and lower than if the estate is valued at $1.5 million. These costs highlight the importance of consulting with an attorney about estate planning to protect your assets as much as possible.

Remember, probate is an important and necessary court process for many estates. It is important to have legal counsel that is an expert in the law and has the compassion needed for these delicate moments. Our attorneys are ready to help you navigate this process along with many other legal services, and we also have a blog where you may find answers to other important questions. Please don’t hesitate to give us at the Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen a call today for all your probate estate needs!