Tag Archives: Will Preparation

A common estate planning question is what (if any) assets are handled outside of probate?

There are a number of different kinds of properties that may pass outside the provisions of your Will.

The list includes life insurance, retirement plans, individual retirement accounts, and annuities. When you purchased or set up these types of assets and accounts, you were probably asked to fill out a form listing the beneficiaries who will receive payments upon your death. These investments will pass to the named beneficiaries regardless of whether you have a Will. However, if you don’t have a beneficiary named if the beneficiary named is your “estate,” or if all the beneficiaries are dead, then those investments will be paid to your estate and pass under your Will.

Certain bank and brokerage accounts will also pass outside your Will. For instance, payable-on-death accounts (sometimes called “POD” accounts) will be distributed to the named beneficiary. Additionally, accounts set up by one or more persons as joint tenants with rights of survivorship will pass to the surviving account holder or holders.

Some banks allow you to set up what they call trust accounts even though there is no written trust agreement. These types of accounts will pass to a named beneficiary without going through probate as well.

Not all joint accounts pass to the survivor. When joint accounts are set up as tenants in common, the portion of the account that was owned by the decedent passes under his or her Will.

Many people have decided to create revocable or irrevocable trusts as part of their estate plan. Virtually all such trusts are designed to pass directly to persons or other trusts named in the document rather than under a Will.

You may find that most of your estate consists of non-probate property. Therefore, it is extremely important to coordinate the beneficiaries of all these properties to make certain your assets will be distributed as you want when you pass away.

The Law Office of Debra G. Simms, will be glad to assist you with estate planning and ways to avoid probate. Call us today at (386) 256-4882.



As one year ends and the new one beckons, it is time for your annual estate planning check-up!

This is a good time to make sure your estate plan reflects the events in your life, those both within and beyond your control.

  1. Where there’s a Will, there’s a Way. A Will says how you want your assets distributed upon your death. But, don’t just put your will in the safe or drawer and then forget about it.  Review your Will and determine if any changes are needed because of changed family circumstances; for example, is the person you named to be your Personal Representative or guardian still the right one for the job?  Or, maybe one of your children has a problem handling money – should his or her money be held in trust rather than given outright?
  2. Consider a Living Trust. Like a Will, a living trust provides for the distribution of your assets when you die.  But, unlike a Will, a living trust can avoid the probate process – probate involves a Court and can be lengthy and expensive. Trusts are also more private as they are generally not required to be recorded upon death.
  3. Who has the Power? Who have you named in your Durable Power of Attorney and Health Care Directives?  Are they still the right people to handle your finances and make medical decisions if you cannot do so for yourself?
  4. Think about your end-of-life decisions. Do you have a current Living Will that provides guidance to loved ones concerning difficult end-of-life decisions? Does your Living Will discuss tube feeding, artificial hydration, and use of certain medications if you become terminally ill and can no longer speak for yourself?  Make sure your Living Will ensures that all your wishes are met.


The Law Office of Debra G. Simms offers free estate planning consultations. Consider bringing your documents to her for a New Year’s check-up! Don’t wait until it’s too late! Call for your free consultation~386.256.4882 or toll-free 877.447.4667.

Volusia County Will Preparation Lawyer | Daytona Attorney | New Smyrna  | Port OrangeWe spend a chunk of our lives slaving away to make a living for our family, and saving most of what we can. With this hard earned money we make investments in real estate, shares and in buying our personal assets. All of these aforementioned assets may be collectible referred to as your estate. For ensuring that your estate is passed on to the rightful beneficiary after your demise, you need to create a will.

What is a will and why do you need one?

As per its textbook definition, a will is a testament or a legal document, wherein an individual may stipulate his wishes regarding the distribution of his property and estate post his death and appoint an executor who is supposed to manage the estate for as long as the final distribution is carried out. To put it more simply, a will states the names of one or more beneficiaries to which an individual wishes to pass on his property and assets after he dies. In addition to this, an individual can also specify the name of one or more persons who are to take care of his property after the formers demise, and see to it that the distribution is made as per the instructions stipulated in the will.

The primary reason why you should consider making a will of your own is the fact that it allows you to ensure that your hard-earned money and assets are in safe hands even after your death. It helps you to fairly distribute your personal belongings such as family heirlooms, investments, property and other assets among their rightful heirs, when you are no longer alive to take care of them. In case you have minor children, a will allows you to make appropriate arrangements for them, so that they would want for nothing even when you are not around to fend for them. A will also minimizes the chances of any financial conflicts and disputes regarding your property distribution, among your surviving family members. In addition to this, if you are a person with a charitable bent of mind you can also appoint a part of your estate to be given away as donation for charity to such trusts and organizations.

Why do you need a lawyer to create a will?

Although, the basic concept of a will is pretty simple, it is the structure that needs you to seek legal advice for its proper documentation and execution. The fact that separate state laws specify different stipulates for what can or cannot be included in a will, makes it utmost essential to seek legal advice of a will attorney who can assist you in creating your will as per your state laws. Furthermore, there are other individual circumstance specific laws regarding who can be appointed as your wills executor, witness and your representative for managing your will. In some complex cases, you might need sound legal advice to handle the creation of your will, wherein you have minor children, or children from a divorced spouse or even in cases wherein you need to decide how to proceed with your will’s instruction if your named beneficiaries die before you.

In case you are looking for professional legal advice for creation of your will in the Volusia County region, you may visit the website https://simmslawfirm.com for setting up an appointment with few of the most proficient will attorneys in the state.

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

Will Preparation

Debra is a certified law attorney registered with the bar board or bar council of Florida and specializes in elder law. She also handles cases involving wills, probates, guardianship, estate planning, trusts and powers of attorney. She actively works with communities involved in up-holding elder law in the United States and also gives lectures on elder law topics throughout the state of Florida.

What is a will?

Among the many legal services provided by Debra Simms’s law firm, will preparation legal services are one of the main services offered. A will is a document that allows a person to leave behind his assets, money and any other kind of moveable and immoveable property to his family, friends or anyone he desires. It is always advisable for a person to write his will while he is still alive because if he dies and hasn’t left behind a will, the state of Florida will write a will for him and may not distribute his financial assets in the manner in which he wanted or desired. The state courts may donate his property and estate to charity, schools and hospitals.

Why is will preparation an important legal service?

Writing a will or will preparation while one is still living also avoids other problems such as probate. Probate is a document issued by the court in place of a will for the administration of the will in the court of law. A probate is given after the person dies and a legal attorney or personal representative will have to be appointed for and on behalf of the deceased person to procure the will probate. This person is also known as an executor of the will. Appointing an attorney or personal representative also helps ease and quicken the process of obtaining a probate from the court so that the legal heirs of the deceased can receive whatever they were entitled to rightfully and in a quick manner.

In the will, you can also specify how you would like your personal representative or executor to be paid for his services of administration of your estate. If you have minor children, you can also assign guardians or godparents to them after your death in your will so that they will be well cared for and looked after once you’re gone. Debra Simms will help you draft your will according to your personal wishes.

What is a living will?

The law firm also deals with drafting living wills which are a little different than a regular will. While a will leaves behind the property to heirs after a person’s death, a living will distribute assets to the desired people while the writer of the will is still alive but who is in a critical condition, last stages or a vegetative state. A living will can also state whether a person wants to be put on life support and for how long. This document is important for those who do not want to suffer much before death.

The law office of Debra G. Simms serves clients in Volusia County, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Daytona and surrounding areas. Our experienced and knowledgeable law attorneys who will help you in the drafting and preparation of these very important and crucial documents while making you understand all the legal implications.

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

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:
646 N Dixie Fwy
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667