How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask lwpat Your Own Question
lwpat
lwpat, Attorney at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 25386
Experience:  Attorney with experience in wills, estates and trusts
15417118
Type Your Estate Law Question Here...
lwpat is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What are the typical fees an estate lawyer will charge?

This answer was rated:

What are the typical fees an estate lawyer will charge a personal representative for opening probate, etc. and preparing federal and state taxes (in the state of FL)?

Fees vary depending on the size of the estate and the amount of work required. Usually an accountanr will be retained for the tax returns. Minimum attorney fee is around 2500. For the first 100,000 in value the fee will usually be around 5% and between 1 and 4% of all over the 100,000.

Here is the exact statute

Compensation for ordinary services of attorneys in formal estate administration is presumed to be reasonable if based on the compensable value of the estate, which is the inventory value of the probate estate assets and the income earned by the estate during the administration as provided in the following schedule:

  • One thousand five hundred dollars for estates having a value of $40,000 or less
  • An additional $750 for estates having a value of more than $40,000, but not exceeding $70,000.
  • An additional $750 for estates having a value of more than $70,000 and not exceeding $100,000.
  • For estates having a value in excess of $100,000, at the rate of 3 percent on the next $900,000.
  • At the rate of 2.5 percent for all above $1 million and not exceeding $3 million.
  • At the rate of 2 percent for all above $3 million and not exceeding $5 million.
  • At the rate of 1.5 percent for all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million
  • At a rate of 1 percent for all above $10 million.
lwpat and 5 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Are fees calculated on the size of the estate, then? Independent of, say, actual hours spent for the client? Or does the statute set a limit or guideline for billable hours? For example, for a $2.2M estate should I expect a bill of $71,000 (including $11,000 for 706 filing fee) regardless of the hours spent?

The percentages in the statute are presumed to be reasonable. The attorney is free to charge less or to charge more if he can still show that the charges are "reasonable" based on the amount of work.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

The attorney must show that the charges are reasonable with an itemized bill, for example?

That is correct. You should always receive an itemized bill.

lwpat and 5 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

My father did not receive an itemized bill. Rather, the attorney simply charged the "reasonable fee" ($71K) Because of friendship outside the office they discounted that fee to %40K, according to the letter he received. But there was nothing itemized regarding his time spent nor that of his assistants, nor what they did except general statements like "estate planning work", which is in the body of the letter. If I have additional questions should my next step be to contact the FL bar regarding my rights?

If it was your father that retained them, any action would have to be started by him. Here you are going to have a hard tiem showing that a fee of 40K is unreasonable when the statute allows 71K. He can request an itemized billing but here I do not see that there is a cause for a complaint to the bar.
lwpat and 5 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No complaint to the bar, I just want to understand. It doesn't strike me as reasonable if the actual hours worked amounted to, say, 40, and I'm required to pay $40K.
Anyhow. Thanks for your help.
You're welcome.