The death of a loved one seems to bring with it a plethora of tasks that have nothing to do with grieving—managing bills, planning a funeral, and going through the probate process. The expenses can quickly become overwhelming. And then there is the inherited house to sell.
One of the costliest parts of the probate process for many families is the cost of hiring an attorney. On average, a probate attorney costs between $3500 and $7000 for simple cases. But complex estates or contentious probate processes can cost significantly more.
Know how probate attorneys charge for their services. It can help you decide whether to hire an attorney or choose other options to reduce the cost.
How Florida probate attorneys charge
In Florida, attorneys can charge a flat fee to take on a case, charge by the hour, or charge a percentage of the estate.
Some attorneys may charge separate flat fees for different parts of the probate process—such as one fee to obtain the letters testamentary or letters of administration and another to settle the estate.
Attorneys will require a retainer (down payment) to begin the work and charge the remaining balance once the estate assets are available, meaning the creditors are paid and the inherited house is sold. The retainer typically ranges from $1500-$3500.
What increases the cost of probate?
Here are some of the issues that will increase the attorney’s cost:
- Problems with the will, such as provisions that go against state law
- Will contests from heirs or other interested parties
- Errors on the death certificate
- Significant numbers of parties to provide notice to, like dozens of potential heirs
- Additional court appearances, often because of will challenges or other abnormalities
- Significant time and attention requested by the client
Probate attorney’s flat fee agreements generally include language that allows for additional fees if problematic issues arise.
How to save money
Saving money on an attorney is mostly about saving time. The less time an attorney has to spend on your probate matter, the less they’ll charge you.
- Negotiate. An attorney may charge a flat fee for all probate cases, but you can still negotiate with them. Suggest that they serve primarily as an advisor. You fill out the forms and simply have the attorney review anything you submit to the court.
- Choose expertise. Go with an attorney that’s familiar with the probate court where the estate will be handled so that they don’t spend any time getting up to speed.
- Limit your requests. Especially if an attorney charges by the hour, limit the number of times you shoot off a quick email or hop on the phone.
- Prepare in advance of meeting the attorney.
Do I need a probate attorney?
The truth is, the majority of probate cases proceed without issue. And executors and administrators throughout the United States regularly complete the probate process without an attorney.
There are situations where we would absolutely recommend hiring a probate attorney—like if someone is contesting the will. Generally, probate is a completely manageable, even though a tedious, time consuming, stressful process.
When it comes time to sell your inherited house call us at 352-480-0955 or got to our web site www.RapidHomeDeals.com for a fast, no hassle sale.