The cost of probate in Florida

Sometimes I get the question, what’s the average cost of probate in Florida, or how much does it cost to probate an estate.  The answer to the first question, on average costs, is I don’t know.  And honestly, even if I did, it would be about as helpful as knowing the answer to the question what is the average cost of a car.  The cost of a car is going to depend on whether it is new or used, the make, model, and options.  Likewise, the average cost of probate isn’t necessarily going to tell you what a particular probate is going to cost in Florida.  And it certainly isn’t going to tell you what your probate is going to cost.
Florida has 2 types of probates, Summary Adminstration, for estates less than $75,000 in value or where the person has been dead for more than 2 years, and Full Administration, for everything else.  The filing fees are about the same, $345 for the Summary, $400 for full; and if the person has been dead for less than 2 years you will have to advertise the estate in both cases. So, the court costs and advertising costs are roughly the same.  What it costs to advertise the estate is going to depend on the county and the newspaper it is advertised in; the lowest I have seen is about $70; I have also seen some counties and newspapers where it can cost several hundred dollars to run the ad.
The other costs are going to depend on what assets there are, what has to be done, whether there are any creditors, and whether the heirs all cooperate.
If there is real property, then odds are  you will need to bring a homestead petition; or maybe do some sort of Personal Representatives deed. If there are creditors, those creditors will have to be notified, and if they put in a claim, they will have to either be paid or copied on the accounting showing there are insufficient assets to pay them. If there is property in more than one county, there are going to be costs associated with recording the probate in more than one county.  And then it comes down to what the lawyer charges.  I briefly discuss the difference between an hourly rate and fees based on the value of the estate here:

But you should talk to the lawyer about actual costs and anticipated fees before you hire the lawyer.

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