Pursuant to the statute a fee of 3% is presumed reasonable, which is $6,300. They are allowed to charge more for extraordinary services, such as closing the sale of real property, or preparing an estate tax return. See Florida Statute 733.6171 http://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2012/733.6171
Once again, read your retainer agreement. I get paid early on, either at the beginning or when the inventory is filed. There a lot of documents filed before the estate is closed: accounting, or waivers, receipts, petition for discharge, statement regarding creditors, proof of claim, consents to discharge, possibily others.
You have a real problem because the legal presumption is that when you put someone else's name on your property you have given them a gift. She's right. She does own half of everything. Take your papers to an attorney. The burden is on you to prove it was not a gift and it's a substantial burden. I'm sorry you have this problem.
You should consult with a New York lawyer as your mother was a resident of New York and that's where the Estate was probated. In Florida it would go half to you and half to your brother's children, in equal shares.
I have encountered this problem before and the only way I have ever helped a client resolve it is through partition which, by the way, always works. Outside of the probate arena I have, several times, had clients try to purchase mortgages from commercial lenders because there is a property they have wanted that is abandoned. We have never been able to get a commercial lender to sell us the paper. I think it must have to do with their regulations or insurance on that paper.
The responsibilities of a personal representation are the same whether the personal representative is named in a will or elected among the heirs. An estate that has incurred that amount in expenses and has been going for in excess of five years is going to require an attorney to review to be able to answer your questions. I suggest you hire one.
I have seen life insurance poilcies require a guardianship for money payable to a child, and yes, the father would likely have access to it. See an attorney, create a trust, specify the terms of that trust, name the trustee and alternate trustee. Name the trust as the policy's beneficiary. This way you are separating the child from the money during the child's minority.
No. She does not have to take her husband's name off the house before she writes a will. Someday, before that house is sold, her husband's name will have to be taken off. I think it's better planning to take it off now, to asertain how difficult it is, and what needs to be done. If they owned the house as husband and wife it is not difficult or terribly expensive, to take his name off. I would do it now.
The general rule is inheritance money is non-marital property. You can make it marital if you use it to purchase items that are marital, such as a home. You can also make it marital if you put both names on it. If you have a large inhertance and are considering divorce, consult with attorney(s) in person.