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Attorney Fee Agreement For Probate

Copyright 2022 by St. Petersburg probate attorney James W. Martin.

This is a sample form of fee agreement between the personal representative of a Florida probate estate and the personal representative’s lawyer.

This form is for general background and educational purposes, is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. No form should be used unless the lawyer understands it and decides that it applies to his or her law practice and to the facts in the particular case. Each lawyer’s practice differs in some respects, and all cases differ, so the lawyer should plan to make changes to this form accordingly.

A prior version of this form was published in the August 2008 edition of ALI-ABA The Practical Lawyer and the February 2010 edition of The Florida Bar Journal as part of his article “Ten Tips for Handling Complex Probate”.

If you have the need for a St Petersburg Pinellas County Florida probate lawyer, you may use the contact form below or call Jim Martin directly at 727-821-0904 or email him at jim@jamesmartinpa.com for a free initial consultation.


IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR 

_______________ COUNTY, FLORIDA

PROBATE DIVISION

UNIFORM CASE NO.:  _______________

LOCAL REFERENCE NO.: _______________

IN RE: Estate of 

_______________,

Deceased.

___________________________________/

ATTORNEY FEE AGREEMENT FOR PROBATE

AGREEMENT made between _______________, as Personal Representative of the Estate of _______________, Deceased (“Personal Representative”), and _______________, P.A., a Florida professional services corporation (“Attorney”).

WHEREAS, _______________ has been appointed or has petitioned for appointment to be personal representative of the Estate of _______________, and Attorney is a member of The Florida Bar;

WHEREAS, The Florida Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct encourage attorneys to enter into fee agreements at the commencement of representation in order to avoid the possibility of misunderstandings;

WHEREAS, The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Conduct provide that, in Florida, the personal representative is the client rather than the estate or the beneficiaries so Attorney does not represent the beneficiaries of the estate and does not provide legal advice to them;

WHEREAS, Florida Statutes Section 733.6171 governs compensation of attorneys for personal representatives payable from estate assets;

WHEREAS, Attorney has made the following disclosures in writing to Personal Representative:

A. There is not a mandatory statutory attorney fee for estate administration;

B. The attorney fee is not required to be based on the size of the estate, and the presumed reasonable percentage fee provided in Florida Statutes Section 733.6171(3) may not be appropriate in all estate administrations;

C. The attorney fee is subject to negotiation between the Personal Representative and the Attorney; 

D. The selection of the attorney is made at the discretion of the Personal Representative, who is not required to select the attorney who prepared the will; and

E. Personal Representative is entitled to have the Attorney provide a summary of ordinary and extraordinary services rendered for the fees agreed upon at the conclusion of the representation, which shall consist of the total hours devoted to the representation or a detailed summary of the services performed during the representation;

NOW THEREFORE, in consideration of their mutual promises, Personal Representative and Attorney agree as follows:

1. Engagement as Attorney for Personal Representative.  Personal Representative hereby engages Attorney as Personal Representative’s attorney with regard to the probate estate of _______________ in Florida, and Attorney hereby accepts the engagement on the terms set forth in this Agreement. 

2. No Statutory Percentage Fees. This agreement (legal fees based on an hourly rate plus reimbursement of costs) varies from the provisions of Florida Statutes Section 733.6171 in that Attorney will not charge fees based upon a percentage of the assets or income of this probate estate.

3. Attorney’s Fees. Personal Representative shall pay Attorney from the estate assets reasonable attorney’s fees:

Choose one:

_____ At an hourly rate of $_____ per hour for all matters, including but not limited to ordinary services, extraordinary services, and fee proceedings.

_____ On a percentage fee schedule basis pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 733.6171(3) for ordinary services and at an hourly rate of $_____ per hour for extraordinary services pursuant to Florida Statutes Section 733.6171(4).

4. Costs. In addition to fees, Personal Representative shall also pay Attorney for costs incurred by Attorney for filing fees, FedEx, UPS, couriers, copies, postage, expert witness fees, co-counsel attorneys’ fees, process server fees, bond premiums, publishing notices, title search fees, title insurance premiums, and all other costs incurred by Attorney relating to representation of Personal Representative.

5. Invoices. Fees and costs shall be billed by Attorney and paid by Personal Representative at the following time or times:

Choose one:

_____ Weekly by invoice;

_____ Monthly by invoice;

_____ By petition to Court and entry of Court order from time to time;

_____ By including on interim or final accounting for which no objection is timely filed.

6. Summary of Services at Conclusion of Representation. Attorney shall provide Personal Representative a summary of ordinary and extraordinary services rendered for the fees agreed upon at the conclusion of the representation, which shall consist of the total hours devoted to the representation or a detailed summary of the services performed during the representation.

7. Adversary Proceedings and Civil Actions. Attorney may decline to represent Personal Representative in adversary proceedings and civil actions relating to the Estate, in which case Attorney may refer Personal Representative to one or more other attorneys who Personal Representative may engage by separate fee agreement.

8. Miscellaneous. This agreement is made in the State of Florida and shall be governed by Florida law. This agreement may be signed in several counterparts, all of which together shall constitute one agreement even though all parties have not signed the same counterpart.  Paragraph headings are for convenience only and are not intended to expand or restrict the scope or substance of the provisions of this agreement. This agreement may not be assigned or delegated by either party without the prior written consent of the other party.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the Personal Representative and Attorney have signed this Agreement on the dates set forth below.

Personal Representative

Date: _______________, 20_____ 

Sign ___________________________________

Print ___________________________________

Address: ________________________________

Attorney

Date: _______________, 20_____ 

Sign ___________________________________

Print ___________________________________

as _______________ of _______________, P.A.

Address: ________________________________

Phone: _______________

Email: _______________

Florida Bar Number: _______________

APPROVAL BY BENEFICIARIES

The undersigned beneficiaries hereby approve the foregoing Attorney Fee Agreement for Probate.

Beneficiary

Date: _______________, 20_____ 

Sign ___________________________________

Print ___________________________________

Address: ________________________________

Beneficiary 

Date: _______________, 20_____ 

Sign ___________________________________

Print ___________________________________

Address: ________________________________

Beneficiary 

Date: _______________, 20_____ 

Sign ___________________________________

Print ___________________________________

Address: ________________________________

Beneficiary 

Date: _______________, 20_____ 

Sign ___________________________________

Print ___________________________________

Address: ________________________________

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