Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started?  When you have a lost a loved one, the first step is to locate any existing estate planning documents, along with a death certificate (short form) and a list of assets.  Call for either a telephone conference or in-office consultation.  We will walk you through the process, explain what you can expect and provide you with a fee quote for the administration.

How long will the process take?  Typical attorney answer, but it depends – on a number of factors, not the least of which is the ability of the personal representative and the beneficiaries to respond in a timely manner.  Family harmony is also essential for a smooth process – and this is not always an element that can be controlled. Delays in receiving information, family disputes or other unexpected occurrences may result in the process taking longer than expected.  A typical Summary Administration should be complete in 30-45 days, a typical Formal Administration or Trust Administration in 8 to 12 months (depending on the timing for the filing of final tax returns).  Any contested matters can extend these time periods indefinitely.

What will it cost?  The cost of estate administration varies based on a number of factors including whether it is a probate administration, trust administration or both.  In addition, if there are out of state assets, multiple administrations may be required.  The complexity of assets and the value of the estate are also factors that can figure in to the total cost.  Florida law says that a reasonable fee for a law firm to charge for probate administration is 3% of the value of the estate.  Trust administration is generally 2.25%.  In some situations, we may be able to provide a flat fee arrangement.

What is the difference between a Summary Administration and a Formal Administration?  A Summary Administration is permitted whenever the assets of the probate estate are less than $75,000 and there are no creditors or the decedent has been dead for more than two (2) years.  A Formal Administration will be required for all estates greater than $75,000, any time there are creditors of the estate and any time the appointment of a personal representative is required.

You have questions? We have answers.  
Call us today to get started at 407-977-8080