Q: Is airfare reimbursed if you travel to handle estate business, like hiring an Estate lawyer in Florida?
I travel from New York to Ft.Lauderdale to get the probate of deceased relative started.
Very sorry for your loss and the passing of your relative, please accept my condolences and sympathy for you and your family at this difficult time. It in most instances is not necessary to travel to Florida to hire an attorney, start a probate or really do anything related to the probate initially as most all issues can be handled via phone, email, zoom and generally entirely via e-file with the Florida Probate Court, so no real reason to have to appear, come or travel to Florida and probably even more so with the ongoing Covid meltdown if that is a concern here in Florida. If you have to come to handle property and assets and such that can wait and likely be handled once the probate gets started and letters of administration and other documents and forms are submitted and proposed to the court and approved. The reality is that you will have little to no authority until the courts approve of you and therefore traveling initially may not help or be useful whatsoever initially. In order to generally answer your question, the general answer is yes, it would be a Personal Representative expense for handing the probate matter, the general rule is 'reasonable expenses" can be reimbursed and that would include travel expenses to some degree and within reason. Coming down to handle the estate or estate related matters would be deemed reasonable, how often you can do this and how much you can spend would be up to debate if not reasonable as there are no real hard and fast rules on reasonable and it is somewhat general and generic. Costs associated with administering estate would be deemed reasonable, some examples would be as follows;
• Funeral expenses
• Costs associated with marketing and selling the property
• Probate Registry Fees
• Fees of any professionals who have been instructed, such as a Probate Specialist, a surveyor or a valuer
• Settling Income or Inheritance Tax that's due with HM Revenue & Customs
• Certain travel expenses
• Postage costs
• House clearance costs
• Gardening and house maintenance
Remember, all actions need to be in best interest of estate and beneficiaries. I would also add, it would be important to speak with and consult with a Florida Probate Attorney before going and or doing anything as it may save you a lot of time, effort and costs in general,
Terrence H Thorgaard agrees with this answer
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