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Your Probate Advocates

Fort Myers Probate Attorney

Call (239) 970-6844 today for client-dedicated advocacy.

Probate or Trust Administration can be dismaying after the emotional upheaval surrounding the death of a loved one. If you are facing a legal issue regarding probate, you will want to secure the help of a skilled probate and trust attorney.

With more than 70 years of combined experience, we can:

  • Evaluate what probate process is best for the circumstances
  • Avoid delays in administration
  • Address and any risks to efficient administration
  • Communicate an effective plan to complete the process
  • Keep clients and beneficiaries informed throughout the process

What Is Probate?

The death of a loved one can present many unique challenges. One of those challenges can be what to do with that person’s Last Will and Testament and how to transfer the assets of the deceased once they are gone.

While many people have heard of “probate,” too many are confused by what that term means and whether it is necessary for their particular situation. Probate is a court process where a deceased person’s assets are transferred to their beneficiaries. Assets can be in the form of land, property, investments, bank accounts, personal property, etc. Beneficiaries are the individuals who are set to receive a deceased person’s assets. A person’s beneficiaries can be dictated by their Last Will and Testament or by Florida statute, depending on whether they died with a valid will.

The court processes are slightly different based on whether a person dies with or without a will. There are several different probate processes, including disposition without administration, summary administration, and formal administration. Which process is required will depend on the nature and value of the assets that need to go through the probate process.

In Florida, except under limited circumstances, a person must hire an attorney to guide them through the probate process. A probate attorney can help you identify which assets require probate and which process is the best to utilize. When presented with probate, hire an attorney who specializes in this area of law. An attorney with general knowledge of the area can lead to a longer and more difficult probate process than necessary.

How Much Does Probate Cost in Florida?

Probate can be a lengthy and time-consuming process. It can also be a costly one. Attorneys representing personal representatives are entitled to "reasonable compensation" for their services. What is considered reasonable is to a great extent the price you and your attorney agree on for administration.

However, a court could also examine fees charged in certain circumstances and make their own determination as to whether the fee is reasonable. Florida Statute §733.6171 provides some guidelines for what courts will consider reasonable for probate attorneys. Fees are based on the value of the estate including income earned during the probate process.

Below are the guidelines provided by statute to give you an idea of what probate administration could cost depending on the estate size:

  • $40k or less: $1,500
  • $40k$70k: $2,250
  • $70k$100k: $3,000
  • $100k$1M: $3,000 plus 3% on excess of $100k
  • $1M$3M: 2.5%
  • $3M$5M: 2.0%
  • $5M$10M: 1.5%
  • More than $10M: 1.0%

These fees are just base amounts for ordinary services provided by a probate attorney. There can be additional fees for any "extraordinary services." Fla. Statute §733.6171 provides a complete list of what can be considered extraordinary services including the sale or disposition of real property, tax advice, and preparation of estate tax returns. A more complete list can be found by examining the statute.

As you can begin to see, in certain circumstances, the probate process can be extremely costly. Careful planning to avoid or minimize these fees can provide an immediate return while giving you more control over their assets. If you find yourself in a situation where probate is necessary, consult with an attorney to minimize costs and eliminate potential surprise fees. Don't overpay.

At Powell, Jackman, Stevens & Ricciardi, P.A., our Fort Myers probate lawyers are dedicated to quality legal service that exceeds our clients' expectations, and we are proud of our many successes representing clients in probate and trust administration.

Contact Your Advocates today for a free consultation! - Se habla Español.

How Long Does Probate Take?

The most important factor contributing to the length of the process is the probate procedure that you choose. In Florida, there are three processes:

  • Disposition without administration
  • Summary administration
  • Formal administration

Disposition without administration and summary administration are the shortest and can take several weeks to a month. You have the option of sending a notice to creditors in a summary administration, so if you choose to do so, complete administration will have to wait the three months that publication requires, and you will need to add that time to your calculation.

If you do not qualify for disposition without administration or summary administrations, you are required to proceed with formal administration. It is extremely difficult to estimate the amount of time formal administration could take. In the best of circumstances, it can take as little as 4.5 to 5 months. On average, it can take up to a year. If you have beneficiaries that cannot get along, any challenges to the will or other litigation issues, the process can be much longer than that. These factors make an accurate estimation difficult.

Due to the length and the complexity of the formal probate process, the one aspect which you can control and which will have a direct effect on the length of time is your level of involvement and the attorney you choose. You must be confident that you can communicate with your attorney and that the information exchange is open and continuous. Choose wisely and you can limit the amount of time a probate case remains open to a minimum.


We can help you in areas of probate including and not limited to:

Beginning the process of probate or trust administration after the death of a loved one can feel overwhelming. Let our probate attorneys simplify the process for you and give you peace of mind knowing that everything is in order and progressing

There are several different types of probate administration. Determining which type is necessary depends on several factors including the value of the decedent's estate, time since the decedent's death, and place of decedent's domicile.

Request a free consultation with an experienced probate attorney in Fort Myers to learn more about your legal options.

We Can Simplify a Complex Probate Situation And Trust Issues for You

When you need legal representation to assist you with any matter surrounding probate or trust administration, our Fort Myers probate lawyers have the training and experience to handle your unique circumstances and know how to best approach your case. We pride ourselves on our ability to avoid unnecessary probate administration delays. Our success is your satisfaction.

Call (239) 970-6844 today for a free case evaluation!

How We're Different:

  • Dedicated & caring service
  • Over 70 years' combined experience
  • One-on-one attention
  • Customized strategies
  • Accessible - 24 hour response time
  • El abogado habla español

Read What Our Past Clients
have to Say About Us:


    “Richard Ricciardi is my HERO!!”


  • Grateful to have had her by my side.

    “Rita Jackman took me under her wing and guided me through the process of dealing with my accident when I was rear-ended. I never knew how much I didn't know about the process. She guided me every step of the way to the right doctors, and treatment needed to get the best care for me as well as the best settlement I could receive. She was always available to answer questions and just give me peace of mind. She made sure we took the time to do everything right so I was the winner in the end. Physically and financially. I am so grateful and would highly recommend her and her firm.”

    Kristin Huber

  • They are experts in leading you in the right direction.

    “Highly recommend this firm. They are experts in leading you in the right direction. They are compassionate and know how to navigate complex legal issues while communicating effectively along the way to help you understand what is going on and to keep you updated throughout the process. This is really important and something you don't realize until you have worked with someone who isn't good at communicating! Our Attorney, Rita Jackman is assertive in her knowledge and that made it easy for us to trust her from the start. She worked hard for us and genuinely wanted to assist us in finding the best possible outcome for our situation. She also has a great deal of patience to continually answer questions for us to help us make the best decisions. Their staff is extremely responsive and they all work very hard for you, which is rare these days. You're not just another number to them. Everything that you need in a law firm and more, just call them and let them help you - you will be happy you didn't waste your time with other firms - especially when so many things involving law are time-sensitive. You want someone who knows what they are doing from the start. Thank you for all of your help Attorney Rita M. Jackman!”

    Florida Realty Team

  • I would highly recommend their firm!

    “My husband and I met Adam Stevens and Rita Jackman about 2 years ago. My husband was relieved from his employer, unexpectedly, in March 2012. He had been with his employer for 23 years and had worked his way up to the top position in the company. He was th”

    Christina B.

  • ... he is a straight shooter, honest, fair, tough, understanding and above all loyal.

    “When seeking an attorney it is important to hire a professional that will be honest, winning is important but conducting ones self with honesty and integrity is more so. I hired Jorge Santana to represent me in a matter that was extremely important, my chi”

    Joe Canete

Meet Our Attorneys

  • William M. Powell, Esq.
    William M. Powell, Esq. Partner
  • Rita M. Jackman
    Rita M. Jackman Partner
  • Adam J. Stevens
    Adam J. Stevens Partner
  • Richard M. Ricciardi, Jr.
    Richard M. Ricciardi, Jr. Partner
  • Jorge Santana
    Jorge Santana Partner
  • William M. Powell, Esq. Partner
    William M. Powell, Esq.

    Although William M. Powell, Esq. is well-versed in a variety of legal matters and case types, he has built a strong reputation through his focus on personal injury and medical malpractice cases. Your Advocates are proud to have him as a member of our law firm. He shares our passion for helping people in need and prioritizes our clients’ needs. Read More

  • Rita M. Jackman Partner
    Rita M. Jackman

    Ms. Jackman’s unwavering ambition and leadership has provided clients and will provide her future clients a star in this profession. Ms. Jackman is a relentless researcher and preparer who handles her client tasks with a tremendous amount of preparation and thought. Ms. Jackman was born and raised in Cape Coral, Florida which has worked to benefits her practice and the clients that she serves. Read More

  • Adam J. Stevens Partner
    Adam J. Stevens

    Mr. Stevens has found his niche by becoming a litigation attorney and understands that communication between an attorney and client are paramount to obtaining favorable results. Mr. Stevens is known for taking on any and all types of cases no matter how difficult or routine they may be. Mr. Stevens is known as an aggressive attorney, though at the same time understands that some cases require a more patience to ensure a favorable result. Mr. Stevens does not shy away from challenging legal issues and has litigated complex matters against municipalities, international unions, large banking institutions, and several insurance companies. Read More

  • Richard M. Ricciardi, Jr. Partner
    Richard M. Ricciardi, Jr.

    His experience in litigation provides him the ability to identify and isolate potential areas of conflict and effectively counsel clients around potential pitfalls. Mr. Ricciardi believes that proper estate planning, real estate counsel, and business planning are areas of importance to everyone. Protecting and dispensing clients' various interests, assets, and lifetime earnings can make the difference between a comfortable retirement and wasting thousands of dollars in assets and earnings. Specialized knowledge, experience and attention to detail in these areas is therefore critically important. Read More

  • Jorge Santana Partner
    Jorge Santana

    Attorney Jorge J. Santana, Jr. is an American born Cuban-American, fluent in both English and Spanish. Jorge left Miami to join us here in beautiful and peaceful Fort Myers, Florida in March 2015. He has an extreme love for the law, which is only overshadowed by his desire to help all those in need. His reputation for fairness, hard work and honesty is respected by all his clients and attorneys. Read More