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The costs of probating an estate vary according to jurisdiction, length/ depth of the process, whether the Personal Representative is required to post a bond and which attorney the PR chooses to represent him. If the administration is relatively straightforward, an attorney may charge a flat fee for his role in the process plus all costs (see below). If there are complications down the road and the attorney is required to perform “extraordinary services” as defined in his retention agreement, the attorney will charge an additional fee based on his hourly rate – $275.00 to $600.00+. Alternatively, the PR’s attorney may adhere to the guidelines for fees contained in FL Statute 733.6171.

Assuming that you have been appointed as PR to administer an estate in Broward County, Florida you will likely be made to pay the following costs (not including attorney’s fees):

  • Formal/ Ancillary Administration Filing Fee: $401.00. If, however, the estate is eligible for summary administration (i.e. if the estate is administered more than two years after the decedent’s death, the entire estate is worth less than $75,000.00, etc.), you will pay $236.00 if the estate is worth less than $1,000.00 and $346.00 if the estate is worth more than $1,000.00 but less than $75,000.00.
  • Publication of the Notice to Creditors in the Daily Business Review: $172.00.
  • Service of the Notice to Creditors on the Florida Agency for Heath Care Administration/ Additional Creditors: Approx. $6.00 per creditor. According to FL law, the PR must officially notify known potential creditors (i.e. credit card, phone, power and lighting companies, etc.) and, under certain circumstances, the FL Agency for Heath Care Administration – which may be entitled to reimbursement for any healthcare costs it bore on behalf of the decedent prior to his death – of the process by which it may seek satisfaction of its claims (if any) against the decedent during the administration of his estate.
  • Posting of Bond: If the PR is located outside FL or if the court requires for some other reason that the PR post a bond before it will grant him the power to administer the decedent’s estate, the PR may apply/ pay a nominal fee to a professional company, which will act as his surety – it will agree to be responsible for the PR’s debt to the estate up to a certain stated amount if the PR fails to faithfully perform his duties.
  • Personal Representative’s Deed: If there is any real estate in the probate assets, it may be necessary for the PR to execute a deed on the decedent’s behalf granting it to the decedent’s intended beneficiary. The PR will have to pay his attorney a flat or hourly fee to draft this document and an additional cost to record it and for the document tax. If the PR himself is the intended beneficiary of the real property, this step may, in some circumstances, be skipped.