Personal Representative Fees
Sometimes referred to as an executor or an administrator, a personal representative is the person or corporation charged with caring for the estate of a testator and winding up his (or her) affairs. Typically, the personal representative is named in the will. Whether the person is named in the will or not, anyone wishing to serve as a personal representative must petition the court. The court will only grant a petition if the petitioner is qualified. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, the responsibilities of a personal representative can be significant, requiring a great deal of time. Estate administration often last 12 months, and in some cases takes longer. Personal representatives are not expected to work for free. Under the Florida Probate Code section 733.617, Compensation of personal representative, personal representatives are entitled to be compensated based on the size of the estate and based on the activities involved in the administration of the estate. To learn more about personal representative fees, contact a Fort Lauderdale personal representative fees lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Duties of a Personal Representative
Personal representatives are responsible for the overall management of the estate, and the ultimate distribution of the assets in the estate to the beneficiaries named in the will. The personal representative’s activities are overseen by a circuit court judge. The primary responsibilities of personal representative include:
- Identifying, inventorying, and safeguarding probate assets
- Appraising probate estate assets. The personal representative must understand the value of the estate at the time of the decedent’s death. The value of the estate, plus the income earned during administration may be critical in determining the amount of compensation to which the personal representative is entitled.
- Paying estate debts. Before distribution of assets, the personal representative must pay estate debts, pay expenses, and settle claims.
- Collecting money owed to the estate such as the decedent’s final paycheck, pension benefits, veteran’s benefits, and rent from investment property.
- Distributing assets that remain in the estate after bills are paid, including the personal representative’s fees, to beneficiaries based on the terms of the will.
Under the Florida Probate Code, a personal representative is entitled to compensation for administering the estate based on the value of the estate as follows:
- For the first $1 million- 3%.
- For all above $1 million and not exceeding $5 million- 2.5%
- For all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million- 2%
- For all above $10 million- 1.5%
As an experienced Fort Lauderdale personal representative fees attorney will explain, the value of the estate is based on the inventory assets filed by the personal representative as well as income accumulated during administration.
If the personal representative ends up performing extraordinary duties, he or she is entitled to additional compensation. Examples of extraordinary duties include:
- Selling property—real or personal
- Dealing with estate litigation
- Dealing with legal proceedings related to adjustment of or payment of any taxes.
- Caring for the decedent’s business
- Dealing with protected homestead
- Any other special services
Testators sometimes leave specific instructions in their wills related to personal representative compensation. If that is the case the personal representative is to be compensated based on the testator’s instructions. However, the personal representative has the right to renounce the instructions in the will regarding compensation and choose to be paid according to the statutory schedule.
If you are a personal representative and have questions about fees, contact a personal representative fees attorney in Fort Lauderdale to discuss your concerns.Compensation for Multiple Representatives
In some instances an estate has not one representative, but 2 or more. If there are 2 personal representatives and the estate is worth $100, 000 or more, each one is entitled to full compensation. If there are more than 2 personal representatives, then the compensation to which two would be entitled must be apportioned among all of the personal representatives.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
If you are the personal representative of an estate and have questions related to compensation for service related to administration of the estate, it is important that you discuss your concerns with an experienced personal representative fees attorney serving Fort Lauderdale. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience representing personal representatives, executors, estate administrations, beneficiaries, heirs, and fiduciaries in matters related to estate administration and estate litigation. Contact us attorneys at 561-710-4000 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.