Compensation of a Personal Representative in Florida

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For his or her services, a personal representative of an estate is entitled to compensation from the estate assets, without a court order. Florida Statute §733.617 provides the general rule in Florida for the commission of a personal representative. The Statute provides that the commission will be presumed reasonable for ordinary services provided by the personal representative. The commission is based on the value of the estate, which includes the inventory value of the probate estate assets and any income earned by those assets during administration. The commission is calculated as follows: 3% for the first $1 million, 2.5% above $1 million and not exceeding $5 million, 2% above $5 million and not exceeding $10 million, and 1.5% for all above $10 million.

For example, assume an estate where decedent was domiciled in Palm Beach, Broward or Dade County, is valued at $20 million dollars. The personal representative is entitled to 3 percent of the first $1 million dollars or $30,000. For the amount between $1 million and $5 million dollars, the personal representative is entitled to 2.5 percent or $100,000. For the amount between $5 million and $10 million dollars, the personal representative is entitled to 2 percent or $100,000. And for the amount above $10 million and up to our $20 million dollar estate, the personal representative is entitled to 1.5 percent or $150,000. Thus, for an estate worth $20 million dollars, the personal representative is entitled to $380,000 in commissions.

In addition to this commission, a personal representative is allowed additional reasonable compensation for extraordinary services including sales of real or personal property, conducting litigation for or against the estate, any involvement in court or IRS proceedings, running the decedent’s prior business and issues with protected homestead such as with a home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

What if the will sets forth the compensation of a personal representative? If the compensation of a personal representative set forth in a will is different than the compensation set forth in the above referenced statute, the personal representative has a choice of taking either compensation rate. The personal representative will likely want to take the higher of the two compensation schemes. The personal representative also has the option of receiving some or none of the compensation they are entitled to.

What if there is more than one personal representative for an estate? If you have an estate worth at least $100,000 and there are two personal representatives, each personal representative can take the full commission that a sole personal representative would take. However, if there are three or more personal representatives for the estate then all personal representatives must apportion among themselves the compensation that two personal representatives would be entitled to. If the estate is less than $100,000, then one commission must be apportioned among all the personal representatives.

What if the appointed personal representative is also a lawyer and has rendered legal services in connection with the administration of the estate? Under Florida law, an attorney shall receive a fee for their legal services in addition to a full fee as personal representative.

If you or someone you know is interested in bringing an action regarding a personal representative’s compensation, it would be best to consult an attorney to establish a proper strategy to accomplish that goal.