probate florida

What is the probate process in Florida?

The probate process in Florida can take up to two years to complete.
 
It is advisable, if you have a holiday home or are a British expat in Florida, to ensure that any Wills produced cover both UK and Florida legislation and all your assets. All official documents connected to the death of the person, need to be officially recognised and validated by the State of Florida.  
 
The executors of the Will must apply to be formally recognised as personal representatives by the State if the deceased was classed as a Florida resident, whereas representatives of deceased non-residents must be close family members, or residents of Florida.
 
Normally, a British person will be taxed by the US only on the assets located in that country.  It is worth noting that the Nil Rate Band for non-US citizens is $60,000 (outstanding mortgages may not be deducted from the value of the estate), compared to $5 million for residents. 

Probate Fees in Florida

If you are a UK citizen with assets in Florida you may need to apply for probate overseas. Here’s an overview of how much you can expect probate fees to amount to. 
 
When a non-resident owns property in Florida and passes away, the property is subject to Florida Probate laws. Probate fees will depend on whether the proceeding is Summary Administration or Formal Administration.  
 
Summary Administration
 
Summary administration is a streamlined probate procedure for smaller estates.   It may be used for a non-resident’s estate if the value of assets does not exceed $75,000 and the death occurred more than 2 years ago. It is usually the quickest and least expensive. An attorney will normally charge an hourly rate for this. Rates range from $200 to $300 per hour so a flat-fee is sometimes preferred depending on the circumstances.

Formal Administration
 
The formal probate process is necessary for estates that exceed $75,000. Florida law sets forth a presumptive schedule for probate fees. 
 
3% of the first $1 million
$1-$3 million at 2.5%
$3-$5 million at 2%
 
Additional fees may be charged for extra services such as the sale of property, advice regarding homestead, or preparation of a Federal estate tax return.
 
IWC Estate Planning & Management does not charge the statutory formula for probate fees. We operate a fixed fee policy and our rates are extremely competitive.  Rather than charge a percentage of the estate, fees are calculated based on the amount of work that`s required.
 
This is much fairer – it is not the value of the estate but the type of assets and complexity of the Will that determines the amount of work involved.  Our prices are calculated based on the type of assets, the number of beneficiaries, and conditions in the Will.
 
While an hourly fee may seem fairer because it is directly proportionate to the amount of work carried out. If you are being charged at an hourly rate, it can escalate considerably. The average formal administration case lasts 1-2 years and you will only be given an indication of the likely cost; when the final bill is presented, you may get a terrible shock. IWC do not charge hourly rates either, but calculate a fixed-fee which will be agreed with you in advance.
 
We can help non-US citizens with all aspects of estate administration and overseas probate in Florida. Call 0800 612 6105 from the UK or +44 20 8150 2010 from overseas.

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