What actually is your estate?

An estate is your net worth on your date of death.

It includes all property that you own or control such as bank accounts, real estate, life insurance policies, stocks, and personal property like artwork, jewelry, and vehicles.

And, an estate also includes your debts, such as car loans, mortgages, and credit card debt.

What is an Estate Plan and Why is it so Important to have one?

No one likes to think about death, but, it is important to be prepared when the time comes so that your loved ones have a clear understanding of your final wishes.

Estate planning is making a plan in advance that provides details of how you want things handled when you pass.

So, basically an estate plan is a set of written instructions that describes how and to whom you want your property to be distributed after you die.

An estate plan may also provide other details such as funeral arrangements and care for pets when you have passed. 

Complete estate plans should also include health care instructions if you should become ill or disabled before you pass. You should also direct who can make financial and legal decisions for you if you become ill or disabled.

Call the Law Offices of Debra G. Simms at 386.256.4882 to learn more.

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 Blog topics may or may not be updated and entries may be out-of-date at the time you view them.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex partners have a constitutional right to marry, nationwide. The Court’s ruling takes away any previous ambiguity about the recognition of same-sex marriages in Florida. What does this mean for same-sex spouses who are purchasing real estate together?

Same Sex Tenancy by the Entireties

Same-sex married couples can now take title together as tenancy by the entireties. Formerly, same-sex couples were limited to tenancy with rights of survivorship and tenancy in common.

Tenancy by the entireties is a type of survivorship deed – when one of the parties dies the property passes automatically to the other without the need of probate. But holding the property as tenancy by the entireties, (formerly only available to “husband and wife”) has the advantage of providing creditor protection to the parties – judgments against one same-sex partner will not attach to property they hold as a married couple.

Furthermore, the Old Republic Title Co., formerly, Attorney’s Title Fund, has notified its member agents that it will treat any indication of marriage (i. e, a married couple, married to each other, husband and husband, wife and wife, etc.) as entireties property. This is big. The Fund is usually the last word on title issues in Florida and it is notoriously conservative.

If you have any questions, please contact the Law Firm of Debra G. Simms.

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

Short Sales

short sale may seem like a great way to avoid the financial devastation of foreclosure, but it’s not always the smartest move. There may be better legal protections by going the foreclosure route and the damage to your credit score may be the same.  Here are some things you should know before you decide:

Your credit score will tank just the same

A short sale and a foreclosure have the same impact on your credit score because they are both regarded as serious delinquencies, according to a spokesman from Fair Isaac, the company that calculates the FICO score.  Other factors, such as what the credit score was before the short sale or foreclosure, may have a greater impact.

2. The lender may come after you for the difference

In a short sale, the bank will almost always try to get you, the homeowner, to sign an agreement to pay back the difference between the amount you owe and the final sale price. It’s up to you, or your attorney, to get the the lender to agree not to pursue any further payment.  The demand for payment may come years later, long after you thought you were fully recovered!

3. You’ll have less time to recover financially and emotionally

In Florida, a foreclosure takes several months or longer.  This is a time when you are not making house payments, and can help you prepare financially and emotionally to leave your property.  You give that up with a short sale.  When the house sells and closes, you are out.
Debra G. Simms
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