Formal Administration in Florida is typically needed when the assets of the deceased persons are in excess of $75,000 and the person has been deceased for less than two years.
Formal Administration in Florida is typically also needed if real estate is going to be sold. This requirement could change from county to county, but in Miami-Dade County Probate Court, formal administration is required when real estate will be sold through the Florida probate administration.
Florida probate is necessary when you pass away owning assets in your name individually and without a beneficiary designation.
Examples of assets that usually pass through probate include real estate titled under your name directly, bank accounts without a beneficiary or bank accounts with a beneficiary that already passed away, businesses you own directly, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, a Florida Will does not avoid Florida probate court. On the contrary, a Florida Will is not effective until admitted in Probate Court and a Probate judge signs an order stating that it is your valid last will and testament.
The cost of the formal administration will vary depending on the assets under the Florida formal administration. In Miami-Dade County Probate Court, the cost of opening the formal administration is $406. Other cost in the probate administration include $100 for a Notice to Creditors in the County where the person passed away.
Other cost include mailing of documents and notices to the beneficiaries, assuming that they do not sign waivers and consents of the administration and the petitions being filed.
In some situations, professionals need to be hired to perform some services for the formal administration. These include tax accountants and realtors.
All in all you are probably looking to spend anywhere from $600-$1000 dollars in a formal administration that is uncontested and no major issues arise.
The next major cost in the probate administration includes attorney’s fees and cost, which I will cover next.
There are two basic models for a Miami probate attorney to charge his or her attorney’s fees: Flat Fee or Hourly.
There is not one best method, in some situations the flat fee will be more convenient for the client, in other situations the hourly model will be more cost effective.
The reason for this is that the probate attorney may charge an additional amount when quoting a flat fee because the probate attorney will not know how much time and complexity the formal administration will have until the formal administration is begun.
The first time I sit with a potential client I try to gather all the necessary information necessary to access the formal administration. However, it is almost always the case that the formal administration doesn’t go as originally planned or the beneficiaries have issues, or there is a lot of problems communicating with the beneficiary or the person appointed as the personal representative.
For these reasons, a lot of probate attorneys in Miami decide to charge an hourly fee instead of a flat fee for the administration.
When quoting a flat fee, the probate attorney will first examine the complexity of the formal administration. Factors that probate attorneys examine in order to quote a flat fee include:
Section 733.6171, Florida Statutes provides a schedule of reasonable compensation for ordinary services in for the formal administration of a Probate estate:
In addition to probate attorney fees for ordinary services, the probate attorney is entitled further reasonable compensation for any extraordinary service. Section 733.6171 goes on and lists example of extraordinary services (i.e., will contest, audits, review of estate tax returns, etc).
Most Miami probate attorney charge between $250 an hour to $450 an hour depending on the experience of the probate attorney.
The hourly fee is convenient when there are liquid assets like bank accounts. The reason for this is that the formal administration of a $1,000,000 bank account is the same as the formal administration of a $100,000 bank account.
If the Miami probate attorney charges you a reasonable compensation based on the value of the bank account, the probate attorney fee will end up being $30,000. However, if the probate attorney charges you an hourly fee, the total cost for the probate attorney fee will be much less.
It is important for you to be informed about these options as one of the other can drastically impact the amount of attorney’s fees that the estate or you will have to ultimately pay.
I have a lot of experience with the formal administration in Miami-Dade County and other counties throughout Florida. I want to help you administer the formal administration of your loved one.
Contact me at (305) 489-1415 or complete the form to reach my office. If you have any questions or concerns do not hesitate to reach out, I am always happy to answer any questions you may have, whether you end up retaining my firm or not.