Tag Archives: Trust

Answer these 7 simple questions to find out!

  1. Have you prepared a Will or Trust?

If you do not have a will, the State of Florida will determine how your assets will pass.  This could have potentially undesired results!

  1. If you have done a Will or Trust when was it last reviewed?

Your estate planning documents should be reviewed on an annual basis to be certain that the representatives, agents, trustees, etc. that you have appointed are still appropriate.  You should also review your plan of distribution.  If changes have occurred in your family, financial situation, or your desires, then new provisions may be necessary.   Also, changes in the law do occur, so plans should be periodically reviewed by an estate planning attorney.

An out-of-date estate plan perhaps is worse than no estate plan at all.  Think of estate planning as a process, not an event.

  1. Does your current plan provide your heirs with asset protection, divorce protection, and lawsuit protection?

Under Florida law, children and grandchildren can inherit property at age 18 without restriction.  Proper planning is crucial to prevent an heir from squandering his or her inheritance.  Are the distributions to your children protected from their creditors and divorce?

  1. Do you only have a Will and not a Living Trust?

Many of your assets could be subject to Probate proceedings.  Probates are costly and require many months to conclude.  A properly funded Living Trust is an excellent way to avoid Probate.

  1. Should your decision makers be changed?

Over time, many people change their minds about who is best suited to be their personal representatives, trustees, and health decision makers.  Or the people designated in the original documents may have moved, died, become ill, or grown distant.  You should also consider naming successors to act as back-up.

  1. Is this your only marriage?

Second or subsequent marriages present unique planning issues, particularly if both have children from a prior marriage.  Proper planning is critical to prevent undesired results.

  1. Do you have assets titled jointly with a child or children, or someone else?

Holding assets jointly with someone else other than a spouse is quite common, but has some potentially devastating consequences of which most people are unaware.  In Florida, a creditor of a joint tenant can claim the asset!  A creditor would include a divorcing spouse, judgment creditor, or business creditor.  Additionally, problems can be created if joint tenants die in the wrong order.  There are better ways to allow your children to access your accounts.

Questions? The Law Office of Debra Simms is here to help. Call us today 386.256.4882

This blog post is not case-specific and is provided only for educational purposes and is not intended to provide specific legal advice. Blog topics may or may not be updated and entries may be out-of-date at the time you view them.

Probate & Trusts, Estate Planning, Wills, Trust, Power of Attorney

probate-trusts-estate-planning-wills-trust-power-of-attorneyIf we spare even a fraction of the time we spent on earning all that money and building those assets, we would be able to ensure that it stays in the right hands even when we are not around to look after them. The federal law provides multiple legal options for you to choose form in order to facilitate a judicious planning of your property and assets. We are here to help you understand the various legal rights of a valid US citizen in managing his property and estate while he/she is alive and also post his/her demise.


A will is one the most commonly referenced legal document which allows an individual to manage the division and consecutive distribution of his or her property and estate post death. Creating a final testament or a will gives you the discretion of deciding as to how your hard-earned money and assets should be distributed among those chosen solely by you.


A probate is a legal proceeding that involves proving the validity of the will of a deceased, and then carrying out the process of appraisal and distribution of his assets as per the instructions stipulated within the will. A probate is of great significance in property distribution cases wherein the deceased failed to plan out a valid will while he/she was alive.


A trust can be cited as a written agreement between two or more parties wherein a trustee is attributed with a legal title to a property or an asset on the behalf of a trust beneficiary. The creator of the trust, called the settler provides the instruction for distribution of his assets among the beneficiaries to be carried out by the trustees. A trust can be especially useful in situations where a settler does not wish to provide outright control over his assets to the beneficiary, as the latter may not be mature enough or legally able to deal with them.

Power of attorney

A POA is a legal document which allows you to authorize an individual of significant trust to take control over your financial or healthcare responsibilities in your absence or inability to administer your property and assets.

Why should I hire an attorney?

Before coming to a final conclusion as to whether you should hire an attorney for your property distribution planning or not, you must understand the significance of the proper composition of a legal document. One single missing signature or a misplaced word might entirely alter the actual intent of your trust, will or POA. An attorney can help you in designing a legally correct document which reflects your intent in its entirety. In addition to this, the state laws for all estate planning related instruments vary from state to state. It is utmost essential to consult a professional attorney before creating a will or executing a trust, in order to stick to the laws of your specific state. Furthermore, hiring a lawyer also helps deal with any complex financial or family situations such as a second marriage, minor children, physically disabled family member or a recent divorce.

If you are looking for professional legal advice for creation of a will, trust, POA or estate planning and more in the Volusia County region, just visit https://simmslawfirm.com for assistance form some of the best legal minds in the country.

To contact Florida attorney Debra G. Simms, P.A. in Port Orange or New Smyrna Beach, FL please call 877.447.4667

Planning for the end of life…..hard to do….

Last week my dear Uncle Bernie died. He was 80 years old. He didn’t plan to die, but I know that he didn’t plan to live forever, either. One thing I know for sure, he PLANNED.

A death in the family is one of the hardest times in a person’s life. We all know that grief causes both emotional and physical pain and can keep us from sleeping, eating, working, and certainly keeps us from thinking clearly for a long time.  But during the chaotic and stressful days after the loss of a loved one, a lot of important decisions must be made.

Is your estate planning up to date?

A well thought out and properly drafted Last Will and Testament can alleviate a good deal of stress for the ones you care about the most.  And for those of us who aren’t really sure whether our kids or grandkids are ready to handle money, then setting up Trusts can delay when your bounty reaches their hands.

My Uncle Bernie had a lot of plans. He didn’t get to all of them when illness struck, but when he passed, his sons were able to carry out his wishes and instructions because he did plan for death. By making a Will, you know that you put your affairs in order, and your family will know that you cared enough to do so.

Call the Law Office of Debra G. Simms.   We offer consultations to help you decide what estate plan is best for you.


Toll free: 1-877-447-4667

Debra G. Simms

Contact Us

Port Orange Office:
Prestige Executive Center
823 Dunlawton Ave. Unit C
Port Orange, FL 32129
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667
New Smyrna Beach Office:
817 E. 7th Ave
New Smyrna Beach FL, 32169
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667