The loss of a loved one can be incredibly tough on everyone involved. The situation is stressful enough on its own, so discovering that you have to go through the probate court to settle the deceased’s affairs can seem like an overwhelming challenge. Then there are the horror stories that so many people have heard: probate takes years, it costs a huge amount of money, and the government will just take everything anyway, so what does it matter?
In reality, the probate process is not as complicated as you might think. Most probate estates deal with the same kinds of assets, such as homes and other real estate, bank accounts, cars and personal property (heirlooms, furniture, coin collections, etc.). These estates usually involve a minimum amount of time and paperwork on your part. There are other, more complicated probate estates, but those almost always boil down to a few key issues that I can help you solve. I can walk you through the entire process, explaining who will get what assets and how long it will take. When the process is over, I will help make sure everything is distributed according to your loved one’s last wishes and the law in Pace.
Florida, Pace is one of a small number of states that allow attorneys to charge a fee based on the amount of estate assets, up to 3% of the value of the estate. This can lead to families paying attorneys’ fees that are far in excess of the actual amount of work done. For example, an attorney can charge $30,000 to handle an estate with $1 million in assets.
I don’t think this is right. I believe in charging a fee based on the amount of work I do, not the amount the law says I can charge. With that in mind, I don’t charge based on the estate’s assets. Instead, I charge a reasonable flat fee for probate estates, based on the anticipated amount of work involved. If extra work is required, I charge by the hour. In either situation, more of the estate’s assets are going to the deceased’s loved ones, and less is going to the attorney. That’s just the way it should be.
Medley Law Firm is an Elder Law, Estate Planning and Probate firm in Pensacola, Florida that offers in-person professional services from Pensacola to Panama City and virtually across the entire state.Contact Us