Formal administration is the traditional form of probate in Florida. The appointment of a personal representative is fundamental in formal administration, as this person serves as the point of connection between the court and the estate.
Serving as a personal representative is a demanding and time-consuming task, which may result in the compensation for all the services provided. In this article, you will understand how to calculate the executor fees in Florida.
What is the Role of a Florida Personal Representative?
Also referred to as the “executor” in probate proceedings, the personal representative is the person appointed by the court in charge of a probate case to administer the decedent’s estate and distribute the remaining assets adequately.
In most cases, the personal representative is designated in the decedent’s will. If the person named in the will is not eligible, capable, or willing to fill the position, the court may designate another individual to settle the decedent’s estate.
Once the personal representative is appointed, the court may issue “Letters of Administration.” This document will grant the personal representative the necessary authority to execute the estate.
Given the significant amount of time and effort invested in the probate process, a personal representative is entitled to fair compensation. If the will or other decedent’s documents provide for no compensation, the personal representative has the statutory right to receive compensation by default.
Under Florida Statutes §733.617 (1), “a personal representative shall be entitled to a commission payable from the estate assets without court order as compensation for ordinary services.”
The same statute adds that “the commission shall be based on the compensable value of the estate, which is the inventory value of the probate estate assets and the income earned by the estate during administration.”
How is Executor Fee Calculated in Florida? – In Detail
Florida Statutes §733.617 (2) specifies that “a commission computed on the compensable value of the estate is presumed to be reasonable compensation for a personal representative in formal administration as follows:
- At the rate of 3 percent for the first $1 million
- At the rate of 2.5 percent for all above $1 million and not exceeding $5 million
- At the rate of 2 percent for all above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million
- At the rate of 1.5 percent for all above $10 million”
Florida Statutes §733.617 (3) adds that “in addition to the previously described commission, a personal representative shall be allowed further compensation as is reasonable for any extraordinary services including, but 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
- Any other special services which may be necessary for the personal representative to perform”
If applicable, a personal representative may file a petition with the probate court for further compensation in cases involving particularly complex circumstances. To identify whether the additional compensation is due, the court will consider several elements, such as:
- The size of the decedent’s estate
- The complexity of the assets subject to probate
- The number of beneficiaries or heirs involved
- The existence (and the complexity) of litigation associated with the administration
- The personal representative’s promptness and skill to administer the estate