Complete Guide to Attorney’s Fees in Florida Probate

Attorney fees are paid in connection with Florida probate, for administration and litigation purposes. Fees can be paid to the attorney for the personal representative, as well as attorneys for beneficiaries and litigants.  Download the Complete Guide To Attorneys’ Fees In Florida Probate.

Florida law states that the attorney for the personal representative, for ordinary administration services, is entitled to compensation pursuant to Section 733.6171.  Section 733.6171(3) states that a percentage of the value of the estate is presumed reasonable if calculated based on the percentage schedule: 

Compensation for ordinary services of attorneys in formal estate administration is presumed to be reasonable if based on the compensable value of the estate, which is the inventory value of the probate estate assets and the income earned by the estate during the administration as provided in the following schedule:

(a) One thousand five hundred dollars 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.
(e) At the rate of 2.5 percent for all above $1 million and not exceeding $3 million.
(f) At the rate of 2 percent for all above $3 million and not exceeding $5 million.
(g) At the rate of 1.5 percent for all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million.
(h) At the rate of 1 percent for all above $10 million.

Florida Attorney Fee Calculator (Ordinary Services, Percentage Method, Section 733.6171)

Complete Guide to Attorney Fees in Florida Probate

Authority

How Fees Awarded

Awarded For

Source of Payment

732.2151: Elective Share Proceedings

As in chancery

Dispute regarding:

  • Entitlement;
  • Inclusion of assets and valuation;
  • Satisfaction
  • Estate; or,
  • Party’s interest in elective share or elective estate; or,
  • Judgment that can be satisfied from other property of party

732.805: Spousal Rights Procured by Fraud, Duress, Undue Influence

 

As in chancery

All actions brought under section

  • Party’s interest in estate
  • Judgment that can be satisfied from other property of party; or,
  • Both

732.806: Gifts to Lawyers and other disqualified persons

 

As in chancery

All actions brought under this section, BUT no fees against a party who, in good faith, initiates an action under this section to declare gift void

  • Party’s interest in estate or trust
  • Judgment that can be satisfied from other property of party; or,
  • Both

733.106: Costs and attorneys fees[1]

 

 

(1) In all probate proceedings, as in chancery

  

(2) To named personal representative or will proponent if nominated personal representative does not act in reasonable time

Good faith justified offering will for probate even if probate denied or revoked

Estate (discretion to direct from what part, no bad faith finding required)

(3) Any attorney

Who has rendered services to an estate

Estate (discretion to direct from what part, no bad faith finding required)

733.1061: Fees and costs Will Reformation and Modification

 

As in chancery (attorneys fees and guardian ad litem fees)

For a proceeding arising under 732.615 (Reformation to correct mistakes) or 732.616 (Modification to achieve testator’s tax objectives)

  • Party’s interest in estate
  • Judgment that can be satisfied from other property of party; or,
  • Both

733.3101: Personal representative not qualified

 

Against personal representative personally

Failure to comply with section

Personal representative personally

733.608(8): General Power of Personal Representative

 

As in chancery

Any action for enforcement of debt described in section (Personal representative lien on homestead property)

Unclear, possibly same sources that personal representative can enforce payment of debt:

  • Foreclosure of lien on homestead property
  • Offset of debt against other property in personal representative’s possession;
  • Offset of the debt against revenues from the protective homestead received by the personal representative

733.609: Improper exercise of Power; Breach of Fiduciary Duty[2]

 

Chancery

All action for breach of fiduciary duty or challenging the exercise of or failure to exercise a personal representative’s powers

  • Party’s interest in estate
  • Judgment that can be satisfied from other property of party; or,
  • Both

733.6171: Compensation of Attorney for Personal Representative[3]

 

To attorney for personal representative

Reasonable compensation for ordinary services.  Fees computed on hourly basis or on percentage method.

Estate assets without court order

To attorney for personal representative

Reasonable compensation for extraordinary services.  Fees typically hourly for the following services:

  • Involvement in will contest, will construction, contested claims, elective share, and adversarial proceedings by or against estate
  • Purchase, sale or lease of real estate
  • Dealing with protected homestead.

Estate assets, upon petition of any interested person

733.6175: Proceedings for Review of employment of agents and compensation of personal representative and employees of estate[4]

 

As part of administration process

Proceedings to determine reasonable compensation of personal representative or any person employed by the personal representative

Estate assets (can direct from part of estate), unless substantially unreasonable

733.705: Payment of and Objection to Claims

 

 

Attorney for administrator ad litem

Defending estate in independent action after objection to creditor claim

  • May be awarded as provided by 733.106(3) (attorney who has rendered services to estate)
  • If paid from estate, discretion to direct from what part shall be paid

[1] Dayton v. Conger, 448 So.2d 609 (Fla. 3rd DCA 1984) (beneficiaries not personally liable for fees); In re Estate of Lewis, 442 So. 2d 290, (Fla. 4th DCA 1983) (includes services that are successful in simply effectuating the testamentary intention set forth in the will); In re Estate of Simon, 549 So. 2d 210 (Fla. 3d DCA 1989) (‘If the [attorney’s] services tend to break down, subtract from or dissipate the estate [the attorney] cannot be compensated from it.)

[2]Landon v. Isler, 681So. 2d 755 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996)( personal representative does not breach fiduciary duty by opposing a claim that later proves to be valid)

[3] Glantz v. Glantz, P.A. v. Chinchilla, 17 So. 3d 711 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009); Venis v. Greenspan, 833 So. 2d 208 (4th DCA 2002) (consideration of extraordinary fees).

[4] Geary v. Butzel Long PC, 13 So. 3d 149 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009)(discussion of review proceedings)

Download the Complete Guide To Attorneys’ Fees In Florida Probate.

Find Your Probate Star

Lawyer Locator Front End

Miami

Niuris Bezanilla

Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale)

Natasha M. Dalton

Pinellas County (Clearwater)

Matthew Weidner

Orange County (Orlando)

Philip W. Gunthert

Sarasota County

Dawn Bates-Buchanan

Hillsborough County (Tampa)

R. Todd Burbine

Marion County (Ocala)

Katina Pantazis

Palm Beach County

Nicole Quattrocchi

St. Lucie County

Romaine Brown

Collier County (Naples)

Gregory J. Nussbickel

Pasco County (Port Richey)

Matthew Weidner

Volusia County (Daytona)

Heather Caeners

Martin County (Stuart)

Jon L. Martin

Seminole County (Sanford)

Matthew Weidner

Duval County (Jacksonville)

Long H. Duong

Sumter County (The Villages)

Matthew Weidner

Lee County (Ft. Myers)

Scott Kuhn

Manatee County

Brice Zoecklein

Osceola County (South Orlando)

Matthew Weidner

Monroe County (Key West)

Matthew Weidner

Lake County (West Orlando)

Matthew Weidner

Charlotte County

Matthew Weidner

Complete Guide to Florida Probate

Opening the Probate Estate / Initial Steps
Payment of Creditors, Expenses And Beneficiaries
Florida Spousal and Family Rights
Closing the Probate Estate
Probate Litigation and Will Contests
Florida Probate Quick Guides

Complete Guide to Florida Probate

Opening the Probate Estate - Initial Steps
Payment of Creditors, Expenses And Beneficiaries
Florida Spousal and Family Rights

Find Your Florida Probate Star

Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale)

Natasha M. Dalton

Pasco County (Port Richey)

Matthew Weidner

Sarasota County

Dawn Bates-Buchanan

Palm Beach County

Nicole Quattrocchi

Duval County (Jacksonville)

Long H. Duong

St. Lucie County

Romaine Brown

Orange County (Orlando)

Philip W. Gunthert

Marion County (Ocala)

Katina Pantazis

Pinellas County (Clearwater)

Matthew Weidner

Collier County (Naples)

Gregory J. Nussbickel

Miami

Niuris Bezanilla

Hillsborough County (Tampa)

R. Todd Burbine

Volusia County (Daytona)

Heather Caeners

Martin County (Stuart)

Jon L. Martin

Lee County (Ft. Myers)

Scott Kuhn

Sumter County (The Villages)

Matthew Weidner

Manatee County

Brice Zoecklein