Daytona Attorney at Law

More often than not, people who are on the lookout for an attorney, are those who are stuck in some critical life crisis, which leaves them drained out of the energy and the wisdom to deal with the situation sensibly. It is one of those times when you need someone who can truly understand your issues and make use of their experience and training to help resolve whatever it is that is bothering you.

An overview of your Daytona area Attorney

simmsPhotoAttorney Debra G. Simms is one such proficient lawyer, who has been awarded a Florida Bar certificate and specializes in Elder Law. She has been practicing law in Ohio ever since 1988. She moved to the state of Florida in 1996 and was granted the license to practice Florida specific state law in the year 1997. Simms has been practicing law with regard to several legal issues such as Medicaid Planning, Probate, Guardianship, Elder Law and Estate Planning, since 2007. Seven years later, in 2014, Simms was also granted the Board certification in Elder Law.

With a spectacular career spanning for more than two decades, Simms has established herself as one of the most competent and talented attorneys in the recent times. Her comprehensive experience and seasoned skills make her adept at dealing with a wide range of legal disputes, and resolving them with brilliant dexterity.

Legal Aid

All throughout the span of her career, Simms has been renowned for aiding several families and individuals with their legal issues. With her characteristic sensitivity, she is able to quickly assimilate the intricate details regarding the legal needs and intent of her clients, and is able to provide affordable and favorable results.

Simms has been dealing with a massive number of lawsuits including those focusing on Wills, Living Wills, trusts, advanced medical derivatives and also Power of attorney disputes. She has also been certified by the Florida Bar to practice as an arbitrator and a mediator.

Apart from her celebrated career in law across the state, Simms has also been actively instrumental in providing lectures and participating in community organizations pertaining to Elder Law, in the state of Florida. In addition to being a member of the National and Florida Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Simms is also presiding the Volusia County Bar Association’s Elder Law Section, as the chairperson.

Simms serves as a board member of the ARC Volusia, the Volusia/ Flagler Jewish Federation and even the Daytona Beach Symphony. Apart from reaching out to the ones in need in the real world, Simms has also created a virtual point of contact for the ease of approach. Her website provides extensive details of the services provided by her. The website aims at furnishing in-depth and comprehensive description of the various technicalities of the legal issues, and helps the user understand what exactly it is that he/she is faced with. It also helps the user gain insight about the various concerns that might arise in the due course of litigation, specific to his individual case.

If you are residing in Volusia County, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Daytona and surrounding areas, and are looking for a reliable and experienced attorney, to help you fix your legal issues, you may visit the website and drop in a word for obtaining consultation.

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

Will vs Trust?

Most of us are aware of the terms ‘will’ and ‘trust’ as legal devices used to pass on your assets and property to your heir or beneficiaries. Both will and trust, are estate planning tools meant for distribution of property among beneficiaries. However, the chief difference between the two is that whereas a will comes into effect only when you die, the trust becomes effective as soon as it is created.

What is a will?

Florida Will lawyerA will is a legal document, created and signed by an individual, in the presence of witnesses, which lays guidelines for his property’s distribution after his death. It helps you define the details of your assets and name the beneficiaries whom you wish to benefit from them. The will also offers you the freedom to choose an executor who would manage the allocation of your assets and property after your demise. In the event of the absence of a will, the court has the right to appoint and administrator who would take charge of the distribution of our property. The will also allows you to specify a guardian to raise your children after your death. It is advisable to make a will for your children even if you are still a young parent. It helps appoint a guardian for them in the event of your untimely death, when they are still minors.

If a person dies without creating a will, he is said to have died ‘intestate’. In such cases the court decides upon the beneficiaries for the property and how it will be distributed among them as per the state laws. If an individual, who has already written down a will, is mentally or physically incapable of supervising his financial assets, the court has the right to appoint a guardian who would take charge of managing it for him.

After the death of an individual, his will is administered through a probate proceeding established by the state laws. The probate is a set of laws and proceedings that governs the procedure of execution of the will with the help of a lawyer or an attorney.

What is a trust?

It is a legal device, wherein an individual or a company is named as a trustee that takes care of, and manages the assets for the beneficiary. A trust mainly comprises of three parties namely the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiary. The grantor is the person who creates the trust for his own property and assets. A trustee holds and supervises the property for the grantor for the benefit of the beneficiaries. The beneficiary is the one that gets the benefits of the trust created by the grantor. Some states offer the provision to the grantor of naming himself as the trustee.

Unlike a will, the trust does not require to be administered through the probate process. In addition to this, if the grantor is unable to manage his assets, the trustee has complete right over its supervision without the involvement of court.

There are plenty of Law Firms in Florida that provide sound legal advice on the laws applicable to these will and trusts. If you live in in Volusia County, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Daytona and surrounding areas, and are looking for legal solutions you may check out the website https://www.simmslawfirm.com/.

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

Florida Probate Law

FL Probate LawThe probate is a process supervised by the court, which deals with transferring the property of the deceased to its legal heir. As per law, the assets are first used to pay the expenses of the probate proceedings, then to pay off any outstanding debts on the decedent and the balance is then distributed among his heirs or beneficiaries.

The probate process varies from state to state. Florida too has its specific probate rules that define the guidelines for the process in the state. There are three ways in which you can file a probate in the state of Florida.

Transferring assets without probate

In case the deceased left behind a very small fortune, the beneficiaries are allowed to inherit the property without any probate proceedings. If the beneficiary has paid all of the final expenses of the decedent such as final illness and funeral costs, he has the right to get reimbursed for the same from the deceased property, provided the two qualifications are met:

  • The decedent’s property does not involve any real estate.
  • The fortune left by the deceased is not being claimed by the creditors for paying of any outstanding debts and is not exceeding the amount of the final expenses paid by the beneficiary.

To avail the reimbursement, the beneficiary is required to fill a ‘Disposition of Personal Property without Administration’ form that is available on the websites of several circuit courts of Florida. You are also required to submit itemized receipts and bills corresponding to the medical expenses that you have made in the final 6 months of the decedents life and also for his funeral.

Transferring assets by Summary Administration

The beneficiary is qualified for this type of probate, if the decedent had died at least two years back or the value of the probate estate (excluding the non probate property) is not more than $75,000.  The non probate property can be distinguished as:

  • Assets that are attributed to a living trust.
  • Property jointly held by a couple, such as a joint savings account, or a house that had shared tenancy by both of them.
  • An asset that has already been designated to the beneficiary for example a life insurance policy.

The law requires the beneficiary to fill up a ‘Petition for Summary Administration’ form and testify that there are no outstanding debts against the property.

Transferring assets through Formal Administration

A regular probate proceeding involves the beneficiary filing a claim petition to the deceased property, in the local circuit court. The court issues ‘Letters of Administration’ to the representative of the estate. The Florida probate rules state that the beneficiary is also required to hire a lawyer or an attorney unless he is the one and only beneficiary of the property. The property is then distributed as per the clauses in the will left by the decedent. However, in the event of the absence of a will, the Florida intestacy law has the right to determine how the property would be distributed among the beneficiaries.

Florida as a state has also set out statutory fee scales for the lawyers involved in the proceedings of a probate, making it easier for the people to estimate the legal expenses of such a proceeding. For proficient legal advice in Volusia County, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Daytona and surrounding areas, visit https://www.simmslawfirm.com/.

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

Florida Probate Law

The state of the Florida does not necessary require you to hire a probate lawyer for the legal proceedings of the decedent’s property distribution. Probating a will is a task that requires a huge amount of paperwork or administrative litigation which is best left for a lawyer or an attorney to handle. The dual task of validating and executing a will, is quite complex in terms of legalities and might not be feasible for a layman to deal with. It is therefore advised that you hire a probate lawyer for handling the legal proceeding of a probate will.

Proving the validity of a will

Florida Probate LawyerIn most states, the will filed with an affidavit notarized by the witnesses, is termed as ‘self proving’ and does not require a lot of legal guidance from a lawyer. However in some cases, the adequacy of the will may be questionable as per the state laws. The state laws along with the Uniform Probate Code, specifies the baseline criteria for the framework and content of the probate will. They also lay down the guidelines for adequacy of the witnesses provided for the will. The law also specifies that a more recent will would always be considered over its older version. If the beneficiary encounters any such disputes regarding the validity of the probate will, it is advisable for him to take up the case with a probate lawyer.

Complex family or financial situations

In some cases there are considerable family disputes with reference to the will of a decedent that may lead to expensive lawsuits and court battles. It is always tactical to hire a probate lawyer to deal with such disagreements and prevent any legal wars in the family. There might be some other complex situations in the family too, that might require you to take the help of a lawyer. Some of the family complexities might be a second marriage, a disabled family member, minor children, a recent divorce, or a spouse’s demise. There might also be financial situations that might require you to hire a lawyer for example, a taxable estate or property in more than one state. Given such circumstances, it is always judicious to acquire legal guidance from a probate lawyer who would know the legalities in and out.

Administration of the will

The most important part of a probate will is its adequate execution and property allocation as per the instructions laid down in it. In some cases, if the property left by the deceased is nominal or held in joint tenancy with the beneficiary, the will can be executed without probate. However, there might be cases where the estate is extensive and extremely complicated in legal terms. For example, the property might be a combination of commercial real estate or a running business. In such cases, it is always helpful to take legal aid from the experts.

It is not mandatory for you to hire probate lawyers for your will proceedings. However, to avoid any future hassles or disputes, you are advised to take legal consultation for dealing with the complexities of the litigation involved.

If you are looking for extremely competent and proficient Law firms in Volusia County, New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Daytona and surrounding areas you may check out the website https://www.simmslawfirm.com/

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

Florida Power of Attorney Help

power of attorneyAt the law firm run by Debra G. Simms and her team of experienced and qualified lawyers, you will be sure to get the best in legal and paralegal services from drafting of important legal documents like wills, living wills, different types of trust deeds, powers of attorney, probates, estate planning, guardianship and elder law services, and much more.

Debra runs her legal services from three offices in different locations in the state of Florida. The first office is located at Prestige Executive Center, 823 Dunlawton Ave. Unit C, Port Orange, FL 32129. The second office is located at 629 N. Dixie FW, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168. She and her team work Monday to Friday from 9 am to 6 pm and can be reached on their toll, fax and landline numbers.

What is a power of attorney?

A power of attorney is a document wherein one person called the principal who is the maker of the document grants certain general or special rights or powers to another person called the agent to do or not to do certain legal acts or deeds for and on behalf of the principal. This agent is given authorization from the principal to act in a certain way for and on behalf of the principal when the principal cannot be physically present at a certain place at a stipulated time. The extent of powers granted by the principal to the agent will depend on what is outlined in the deed of power of attorney. It will also explain in detail the rights, liabilities, duties and obligations of the agent while he is acting for and on behalf of the principal.

What are the different types of power of attorney?

There are two types of powers of attorney – general and special. A general power of attorney is one where the agent has the right to do all the legal acts with respect to a certain job or deed in a broad perspective. For example, the agent is authorized via POA to sell a property A of the principal. A general POA will grant the agent all rights to do all acts, things, and deeds for and on behalf of the principal with respect to the selling of the property A.

A special power of attorney relates to the performance of only certain acts, things or deeds and is more limited in the scope of powers than a general power of attorney. The agent’s powers are restricted only to the performance of certain acts or deeds, such as the performance or execution of a contract, or representing the principal before the regulatory authorities only on one occasion or one personal hearing.

A durable power of attorney is another type of POA wherein the agent can still act for and on behalf of the principal even after he becomes incapacitated. However, the POA must state the same clearly in words.

The principal and agent must be of sound mind and must understand the terms and conditions of the POA deed before signing. Both parties the principal and the agent must be competent to contract.

Visit Debra G. Simms law firm and her team of qualified experts to get your deed of power of attorney drafted in compliance with the laws of the state of Florida while understanding all the legal implications of a POA.

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

Port Orange law office

logoEstate planning is an important activity for all of us, and one that’s especially important for the elderly. If you’re in Port Orange, Florida or in nearby areas like Volusia County or New Smyrna Beach and are on the lookout for a reliable and experienced lawyer, read on.

Finding the right lawyer

Working with a reputed attorney makes the process of estate planning significantly easier. An experienced lawyer like Debra G. Simms with the Simms Law Firm, who is a specialist in Elder law, can mean the difference between peace of mind for you and your loved ones, or reams of paperwork and legal tussles at a difficult time. You will need to do a bit of groundwork in shortlisting lawyers, but it will be well worth the effort.

Check for a Certified Lawyer

Not all lawyers or law firms are created alike. There are dozens of options for you in the Port Orange, Florida area, but some firms are better for you than others. Here’s how. Besides their basic law degree, attorneys who are specialists in the area of estate planning will typically have an additional certification or qualification in estate planning or related areas. For instance, lawyer Debra G. Simms in New Smyrna Beach is a Board Certified Elder Law Attorney and will understand the intricacies of this highly specialized area of the law.

Look at their portfolio of services

Estate planning has a range of different sub categories of services, so be sure your lawyer in Port Orange can do everything you need. Typical areas you will need help with include creating Living Wills, Guardianship related work, Probate, Medicaid Planning and Advanced Medical Directives, as well as putting together the legal documentation surrounding the creation and operation of Trusts.

Ask about additional services

There may come a time when you require some services beyond the basics. It helps to have someone you can reach out to for other help like mediation to settle any possible disputes or differences during the process of estate planning. The Simms Law Firm’s lawyer Debra G Simms is herself a Florida Bar Board Certified mediator as well as arbitrator.

Check credentials and reputation

With something as delicate and critical as Estate Planning, don’t just go by the qualifications of your attorney. Ask around and check to see if they have a good reputation in the area. One easy way to do this is to see if they are on any Bar Association committees as office bearers – this will tell you if they have the respect of their peers and are considered an expert in their area. Membership to various law associations, specifically Elder Law Attorney academies is a plus. Another way to check for their reputation is to see if they are on the panel for any big brand corporations and insurers.

Meet your lawyer

The ultimate test for which lawyer or law firm in Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach or Daytona or wherever you are, is right for you, is to actually met with them. Understand how they plan to handle your case, go over the basics and see if this is somebody you trust. No matter how good a lawyer is, unless you feel you can rely on them to make the best decisions for you and advise you properly, all the credentials in the world won’t mean much.

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

New Smyrna Beach Lawyer

simmsPhotoDebra G. Simms is an experienced and board certified attorney who specializes in the concept and theory of elder law in Florida, U.S. she is registered as a practicing attorney with the Florida Bar Board and apart from elder law, specializes in other legal and paralegal areas such as trusts and wills, powers of attorney, guardianship, probate of wills, Medicaid planning and advanced medical directives.

Debra is also certified with the Florida Bar Council as an arbitrator and mediator to settle disputes outside the court of law using the alternate dispute resolution system or mechanism otherwise known as ADR. ADR is a useful technique if the parties to the dispute want to settle legal proceedings outside the expensive judicial courts of law and who want a speedy trial and disposal of the case with minimal court interference. ADR is less costly and much faster and easier than taking the normal route of court proceedings. This is also what makes Debra Simms’s law firm quite well-known and appealing in the state of Florida.

She operates from three offices located at three different locations – Prestige Executive Center, 823 Dunlawton Ave. Unit C, Port Orange, FL 32129, 629 N. Dixie FW

New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168 and The Villages. Her operating hours are 9 am to 6 pm on Monday to Friday and she is always available at her fax, local and toll-free numbers. The easy to use website allows customers from all over the States to post in their queries by filling out a simple registration and request form which is available on the website. The office staff is prompt in replying to any incoming queries within a maximum of two working days.

Some of Debra Simm’s law firm services include:

Elder Law:

Her main field of specialization, Debra uses an effective and preventive approach towards protecting and preserving the financial assets of the elderly and their families in Florida. This law is primarily to protect the financial and economic interests of old and elderly people who are disabled, incapacitated and financially dependent and whose families either don’t care for them or cannot provide them as much as they require in their old age.

Guardianship:

The law attorney at New Smyrna Beach also specializes in the appointment, duties, liabilities and termination of guardians appointed by the court of law to protect a minor or any incapacitated person. The said person is called a ward. The guardian controls the property and assets of the ward and will oversee his social, medical and personal care. Every guardian must have an attorney to protect his legal rights and interests as well as he may be required to secure a bond or surety based on the size of the ward’s assets. He is also responsible for filing an annual plan before the court of law regarding the ward’s activities and performance of his assets invested, etc. all this requires the legal expertise and protection of an experienced and qualified attorney.

Planning for your future often consists of more than just a will. Attorney Debra G. Simms makes use of several estate planning tools including:

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

Choosing the Right Lawyer

I recently met my Aunt’s new boyfriend. Let’s call him Bob. He is a very nice man.  Except he hates lawyers.  Hates ’em.
Of course, Bob didn’t tell me that directly. He didn’t say that he hates lawyers.  It started with religion. Bob is against organized religion because it’s hypocritical.  Well, I’ve heard that line millions of times before, but it’s always a great ice breaker, right? NO!  But, I couldn’t resist.  “Why do you think people who go to church are hypocritical?” I asked.
He answered, “Take lawyers, for example.  They go to religious services and donate their money to a religion that teaches them to be moral and ethical – do unto others as others do unto you. And then, on Monday morning, they’re right back at it, taking advantage of people in order to make a buck”.

How are lawyers taking advantage of people?

OK, now I was hooked. How are lawyers taking advantage of people?  Why do you think they are unethical and hypocritical?
Well, turns out he owns property.  Lots of it.  Tenants aren’t paying, and he can’t get them out.  The lawyers know the loopholes and even though the lawyers know their clients are wrong in not paying their rent, they know how to delay through the legal process.
Well, ok, don’t we pay our lawyers, accountants, etc. to take advantage of the loopholes?  I said, “Hold on. If your CPA told you that you can save a ton of money in taxes by using a tax loophole, would you tell him or her, No thank you.  I’ll pay more than I should!”
That’s different, he said.  Well, of course.  But, it got me wondering. Aren’t all lawyers bound to zeaolously represent their clients within the bounds of the law?  Even if we don’t like the way the law is being applied? We can always refuse the case, right?
Take my practice, for example.  Maybe my new client is thinking about Bankruptcy or Foreclosure Defense, or maybe it’s someone who consults me for Elder Law or Medicaid asset protection planning because he or she wants to pass on their life savings to their children and not spend it all on nursing home care. It’s  my job to help them, not judge them, right?
I know there a lot of people out there, like Bob, who think lawyers are unethical and will do anything to make a buck.  Happily, most of the lawyers I know, are conscientious professionals who care about doing the right thing.  And doing the right thing, as a lawyer, means we represent our clients zealously, WITHIN the bounds of the law.
The Law Office of Debra G. Simms.  Planning today for tomorrow.  It’s the law.  Write me at simmslawfirm.com or call me at 1-877-447-4667.
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:
629 N. Dixie HWY
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667