It’s wise to consult with a Coral Springs probate attorney when a loved one dies, as there are many legal issues involved with distributing the decedent’s assets and managing his or her final affairs. Still, some people avoid retaining a lawyer because they don’t know what to expect as far as fees. It may be helpful to review some general information on how attorneys’ fees work in probate cases.
Statutory Fees: Florida has enacted a law that covers attorneys’ fees in probate cases. Legal fees are presumed to be reasonable under the statute, based upon the value of the probate estate and any income earned during the proceedings. For estates valued:
- Up to $40,000, attorneys’ fees are allowed at $1,500;
- Between $40,000 and $70,000, $2,250 is presumed reasonable;
- From $70,000 to $100,000, fees at $3,000 may be allowed;
- At $100,000 to $1 million, the amount is $3,000, plus 3% of the value over $100,000; and,
- Above $1 million, a flat rate applies, plus a percentage on a sliding scale.
Note that this fee schedule only applies to ordinary legal services provided by a lawyer. If the legal representation includes non-standard activities, a larger fee would be justified.
Other Options for Attorneys’ Fees: The statute only states that certain fees are presumed reasonable under the law; it does not require a Florida lawyer to stick to the prescribed fee schedule. Attorneys may opt to bill on an hourly basis for the time they spend preparing documents, appearing in court, and handling administration tasks. There may also be fees for consultation with a personal representative, will beneficiaries, or heirs. In some situations, an attorney may also work on a flat fee basis for probate cases.
If you’re involved with a probate matter and would like to hear more about legal fees related to the process, please contact Coral Springs probate attorney Richard S. Pillinger at (954) 755-5199. We’re happy to discuss the details of our legal services for probate cases and answer questions about the proceedings.