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Do I Get a Fee for Serving as Personal Representative?

Do I Get a Fee for Serving as Personal Representative?

When a loved one passes, sometimes it is necessary to go through a court process called probate. The purpose of probate is to transfer the assets of the deceased to their intended beneficiaries. During that process, a personal representative (also known as executor) is selected to administer the estate. Depending on the character of the assets, family relations, and other factors, administering an estate can be a difficult, time consuming and onerous task. Luckily, in Florida, the Personal Representative is statutorily compensated for the time and effort put forth in administering the estate.

There are two main probate processes available to transfer assets: summary administration and formal administration. Florida statute does not provide for the compensation of those who go through summary administration. This is because in summary administration, no personal representative is appointed. A Petitioner (person asking for property to be transferred) describes the assets and directs the court to effectuate a transfer. The process is much shorter (3-4 weeks) and less complex than formal administration, but there are limits to what assets can be transferred using this process.

If formal administration is required, a personal representative is confirmed by the courts and that person receives personal compensation according to Fla. Stat. §733.617. There is both ordinary and extraordinary compensation which may be claimed by the personal representative. Ordinary Compensation is based on a percentage of the inventory assets of the estate and any income earned during administration. Personal Representatives are compensated up to 3% of the value of the probate assets up to 1 million dollars. The table pursuant to the Florida statute is below:

(a) At the rate of 3 percent for the first $1 million.

(b) At the rate of 2.5 percent for all above $1 million and not exceeding $5 million.

(c) At the rate of 2 percent for all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million.

(d) At the rate of 1.5 percent for all above $10 million.

Additional compensation above 3% is permitted for “extraordinary services” to the estate. According to Florida Statute §733.617(3), actions considered extraordinary services include, but are not limited to, the sale of real or personal property, the conduct of litigation on behalf of or against the estate, involvement in proceedings for the adjustment or payment of any taxes, the carrying on of the decedent’s business, dealing with protected homestead property and any other special services that the personal representative should need to perform. It is important to note that Florida homestead valuations are not calculated in the ordinary compensation of the personal representative as special rules apply to homestead property in Florida.

As a result of the above, compensation for a personal representative can be very significant. The outline above is meant to be a basic guide for the compensation of personal representatives in formal probate. Other factors and considerations apply, and you should consult with an experienced probate attorney for a full evaluation. If you are a personal representative selected to serve in an estate, make sure that you hire a firm that can fight for your maximum compensation under the law. Contact our office today for a free consultation with an attorney that specializes in probate law.

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