What is the Cost of Probate in Florida? (Estate Lawyer Fees)

Average cost of probate in Florida

For many families, the passing of a loved one and settling of their estate is a stressful period. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the cost of probate — or of distributing their assets — can be high. However, the average cost of probate in Florida shows that the distribution of an estate’s assets does not have to be chaotic.

Under Florida law and statutes, attorneys’ fees and other associated costs vary based on the type of proceeding and the size of the estate. Below, learn how the cost of probate is calculated under the Florida statutes.

What are probate costs in Florida?

In general, the cost of probate in Florida varies depending on the size of the estate. Sometimes, however, there is no need for a formal administration of the probate process. But if there is, a probate law firm can help.

First, there is even non-probate property. This occurs where (1) property is held in a joint tenancy (i.e., more than one person owns the property), (2) the decedent designed a beneficiary (e.g., a payable-on-death bank account or retirement account), or (3) assets are held in a living trust. However, an estate can include a mix of probate and non-probate property.

Second, there is no probate necessary when the final expenses of the decedent are greater than the value of the remaining property. These “final expenses” include certain medical bills and funeral costs. This rule applies where the decedent had no real estate and the only assets are either exempt from creditors’ claims or do not exceed the final expenses.

Third, a summary administration is possible when (1) the death occurred more than two years ago or (2) the non-probate assets do not exceed $75,000 regardless of the time of death.

Otherwise, a formal administration of the probate process must occur. This generally takes place in the local circuit court, where a judge determines the validity of the will.

So how much is probate in Florida? Let’s take a closer look.

What is the Cost of Probate in Florida?

How much does probate cost in Florida? It depends! The regular probate process begins when an executor or other interested party asks the circuit court to be appointed as the personal representative of the estate. Remember, probate typically occurs in the county where the decedent lived at death.

Florida probate rules require that once the court approves the personal representative, the judge will issue Letters of Administration, which allow the representative to settle the estate’s affairs (learn how to get a Letter of Administration). The personal representative then may gather and inventory assets, pay debts and taxes of the estate, and then distribute the remainder to the heirs. Finally, the personal representative must submit a final accounting to the court.

Costs associated with this process include:

  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Accountant fees or assessment costs
  • Court filing fees
  • Executor bond fees
  • Appraisals
  • Business valuations
  • Estate sales preparation
  • Publications/notices fees; and
  • Certified postage

Significant costs may also arise if there is a will contest.

Reasonable Florida Probate Attorney Fees

How much do attorneys charge for probate? The average attorney fees for probate will vary depending on the size of the estate, the fee structure imposed by the attorney, and whether the estate is contested, among other factors. In any event, the attorney or law firm may only charge a reasonable fee.

Florida Probate Attorney Flat Fee and Percentages

In Florida, a probate attorney may charge a flat fee based on a fee schedule set by the Florida statutes. These fees are based on the value of the estate but the value of the homestead property is excluded.

Estates Valued At:Fee:
$40,000 or less$1,500
$40,000 to $70,000$2,250
$70,000 to $100,000$3,000
$100,000 to $1m3% of the amount over $100,000
$1m to $3m2.5% of the amount over $1m
$3m to $5m2% of the amount over $3m
$5m to $10m1.5% of the amount over $5m
Over $10m1% of the amount over $10m

Probate Attorney Cost by the Hour

Other attorneys set their own “reasonable compensation” to an hourly rate. This fee structure is typically more aligned with the amount of work performed by the attorney rather than based on the probate estate’s value. The hourly rate charged by an attorney can vary widely, but the average in Florida for a wills and estates attorney is about $330.

How Much Does it Cost to go to Probate Court?

In Florida, the cost of probate court depends on the decedent’s estate’s value. The estate must first pay any debts and taxes owed by the decedent before distributions to heirs or beneficiaries may occur. Otherwise, probate court or probate administration fees include:

  • Executor Fees in Florida: The executor may charge a fee worth 3 to 5% of the estate’s value in exchange for their services.
  • Florida Probate Filing Fees: About $400.
  • Certificate Fee: As low as $7/certificate.
  • Notifications: Generally, it costs about $100 to place the required notice in a local newspaper.

Luckily, there is no Florida probate tax.

Executor Fees

In addition to the above fees, an executor or personal representative of the estate is entitled to be reimbursed for all expenses accrued on behalf of administering the probate estate. This includes the costs of hiring necessary professionals, sending certified mail to those entitled to notice, any travel needs, tax preparation, and other associated costs.

Other Things that Can Affect Probate Costs in Florida

Other issues that may affect probate costs in Florida include whether:

  • A real property appraisal is needed (e.g., for property rented as a tenancy at will or owned jointly);
  • A business valuation is needed;
  • A will contest occurs; and
  • An estate sale is required.

Be Wary of Unfair Estate Lawyer Fees

If an estate planning or probate attorney adheres to the statutory fee schedule, beware of unfair lawyer fees. As noted above, the statutory schedule presumes that the listed fee is reasonable if charged as a percentage of the total assets passed through the probate proceeding.

However, a fee based on a percentage of the compensable value of the estate is not necessarily reflective of the attorney’s work. This disparity is all the more apparent in cases where the estate’s value is around $1 million — after all, there isn’t much difference in the amount of work required for an estate worth $100,000 versus one worth $1 million.

Nevertheless, the touchstone is reasonableness. The statute assumes that the estate lawyers’ fees are reasonable if the attorney is performing ordinary services. For any extraordinary services (e.g., a will contest, providing tax advice or other legal advice), estate lawyers in Florida may charge a higher fee.

Have Questions about our Florida Probate Attorney Fees?

At Cueto Law Group, we recognize that the probate administration process is a difficult time for families. Our attorneys have the experience and specialization available to guide you through this process, all while charging only reasonable Florida estate attorney fees. that match the amount of work we perform. If you have more questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, contact us today to get started.

Key Takeaways on Florida Probate Fees & Costs

  1. The cost of probate for a given estate depends on the size of the estate, whether there is a will contest or other adversarial proceeding, and the complexities of the decedent’s estate planning.
  2. While Florida statutes set a fee schedule for attorneys’ fees, attorneys are not required to adhere to this structure and they may charge an hourly rate instead.
  3. The Florida probate costs can vary depending on whether the probate case requires a formal administration, summary administration, or no probate at all.

FAQs on Florida Probate Costs

How does a probate lawyer get paid?

In Florida, a probate lawyer gets paid from the estate’s assets. After the decedent’s taxes and other fees are paid, the assets are used to pay for the probate lawyer. While you may have to pay the attorney’s fees upfront, the estate will reimburse you for this cost.

How much does a will cost in Florida?

The cost of a will in Florida varies based on the attorney hired. While the average wills attorney charges about $300 per hour, many charge a flat fee for uncomplex wills. Of course, the more complex the will or the more assets in the estate, the larger the fee.

Where can I read more about the Florida probate attorney fees statute?

You can read more about the Florida probate attorney’s fees statute here. The statute sets a flat fee schedule that charges $3,000 plus a percentage that depends on the value of the assets in the estate. Remember, this fee is not necessarily reflective of the amount of work required.


Cueto Law Group P.L.