Probate is a long and expensive process. It is used when someone has not created a proper estate plan. Having a Will still requires Probate!! This is the most common misconception. If you wish to have a low cost estate plan to avoid probate please visit our On Line Estate Plan for only $400.
How Expensive? Probate fees are the actual filing fees, of $409, as well as the attorney fees. The Florida Legislature has actually created laws as to reasonable attorney fees. Most probate attorneys charge the statutory amount. The attorney fee is approximately 3% of the total estate, including Life Insurance, home, bank accounts, 401 K, and any other assets. As you can see, this can get expensive.
How Long is the Process? Well, there are two types of probate. A summary probate is done if the total assets are less than $75,000 and the time frame is approximately nine months. If the assets are greater than $75,000, then a full probate is necessary. I inform my clients to expect the process to take about two years. There are many involved steps, including:
Identification and valuation of the assets
Preparation of an inventory of assets and formal accounting
Identification and notification of all possible heirs
Assessment of validity of claims against the estate
Publication of all legal notices
Management of any real estate
Application to the court to liquidate and distribute the assets
Filing and payment of any federal income, estate, gift taxes
Objections to improper claims
Defense of any lawsuits brought by creditors
Payment of any administrative expenses
Distribution of assets to the beneficiaries
Final Closure of the Probate Case