It is never easy going though the passing of a loved one, no matter if they were a blood relative or not. Navigating the road ahead in dealing with probate attorney fees and reading of the will may seem daunting and confusing, but Arturo R. Alfonso PA is here for you. We have been serving the Miami area for over twenty five years.
What Is Probate?
You may be familiar with the term, but now that you’re in the middle of a probate, the steps involved may seem puzzling. Probate is the legal process of disintegrating a person’s estate after they pass. If there was a will drawn up prior to their death, it will usually make the process go faster and easier, as once the will is authenticated, the full process can begin. If there is no will, it can become complicated as an executor and administrator will need to be appointed in order to get the process started and figured out, then establish who may be heirs and other such matters.
Probate Attorney Fees
In all of this, a probate attorney will assist the executor or a beneficiary of the deceased’s estate. The attorney will be able to help you navigate through the process and settle any disputes over property and monies, smoothing the probate as much as possible. Most often, the probate attorney will be paid from the estate monies that are leftover. If you happen to be a beneficiary, then this is technically coming out of your remaining inheritance. Depending on the attorney, they may charge differently, typically with an hourly, flat fee, or a percentage of the estate. Keep in mind that attorneys may also have costs that come up which will be separate from any actual fees they’re collecting. Costs can include any miscellaneous expenses, such as postage, court filing fees, publications of legal notices, and recording fees.
The most common way of probate attorneys to charge their clients is by the hour. The hourly rate will depend on what city or state you live in and how busy the attorney is during this process. In more urban areas, expect the rate to be more than in a rural area. A specialist may charge more but since this is their specialty in a way, they may prove more efficient and spend less time filing the paperwork, saving money in the long run.
A flat fee will typically be less of a headache for both the attorney and you. The attorney doesn’t have to keep detailed records but can estimate a reasonable price depending on what needs to get done, with you left knowing the exact fees, and won’t have to worry about any additional costs.
When a probate attorney can receive a percentage of the estate, this usually entails more of a payout for them in the long run. It is still negotiated between you and the attorney, so there can still be a flat fee or hourly rate. Although, if you live in Arkansas, California, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Montana or Wyoming, attorneys are authorized by law to collect a percentage of the value of the estate as their fee. The payouts from this can be quite extensive, especially if the value of the estate is very high, as the percentage is based on the value of the properties and not necessarily the actual value. For example, a house valued around $300,000 with a remaining $100,000 mortgage is still valued at $300,000 and thus this number is what is used for the attorney’s percentage.
The Bottom Line
Being able to navigate the probate procedure can be tricky, but attorneys are here to help, whether it be settling a dispute or making sense of the legal process. Knowing how the attorneys will bill the estate will clear any confusion from the get go and make the following affairs easier to focus on. It’s always a good idea to get a fee agreement in writing once you have chosen your attorney. This detailed agreement is required in some states anyway, but it can also ease your mind about the fees overall, having everything lined out about projected fees and costs, as well as the number of projected hours to complete.
Need some assistance with the probate process? Arturo R. Alfonso PA offers excellent attorney services in the Miami area. We provide highly-detailed and oriented legal services with transparent probate attorney fees. Call us today!