Tag Archives: Probate

Many of my clients live in a Manufactured Home.  They are concerned about how to avoid Probate if the home is not titled jointly.   Probate is certain to be required if you are not leaving the home to your spouse, all children equally, or if your children cannot amicably agree among themselves upon a division of this asset. You will also need a Probate if your estate has any debts.

A solution for this problems is to put your Manufactured Home in a Revocable Living Trust.  First, of course, you must contact an attorney to create a trust for you if you do not already have one.  Then, you must contact the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles to change the registration.  There are forms to fill out and processing fees to pay, but the process is relatively easy and much less expensive than Probate.

If the Manufactured Home is your Homestead, you will not lose this valuable exemption simply by putting it in a Trust.

Also, sometimes the owner also owns the land underneath the Manufactured Home.  If this is the case, then a deed will also need to be prepared and filed with the Clerk of Court. If you own the land, another option is to “retire” the title to the mobile home by filing certain documents with the Clerk of Court and the Department of Motor Vehicles.  If this step is taken, the mobile home can be transferred by deed to the trust.

Taking the above steps will give you some peace of mind in protecting your beneficiaries from Probate.  It will save your beneficiaries time and large legal fees, and allow for the smooth transitions of your assets

 

Probate is a court-supervised process for identifying and gathering the assets of a deceased person, paying the decedent’s debts, and distributing the decedent’s assets to his or her beneficiaries.  The order of distribution is governed by the Florida Statutes.  In general, the decedent’s assets are used first to pay the costs of the administration, the funeral expenses, the decedent’s outstanding debts, and then the remainder is distributed to the decedent’s beneficiaries.

There are two types of court-supervised probate administration under Florida law: formal administration and summary administration.  Summary administration only applies in limited circumstances: when the probate assets of the estate are less than $75,000 and when there are no known creditors.

In general, probate administration applies only to those assets held in the decedent’s sole name at death.  In some cases, assets such as life insurance or retirement funds might also need to go through probate if there are no individually named beneficiaries or a beneficiary is deceased.

Probate is necessary to pass ownership of the decedent’s probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.  If the decedent had a valid Will, the Will must be admitted to probate and will be effective to pass ownership of probate assets to the decedent’s beneficiaries.  If the decedent had no Will, or the Will is not valid under Florida law, then probate is necessary to pass ownership to those persons entitled to receive them under Florida law.

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

 

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.

Will

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.

Probate

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.

Trust

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://www.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

Most people are not aware of the value of a certified estate planning attorney. Most people generally believe they have planned well if they have a will in place. A will may not be the best plan because a will does not avoid probate when you die. Interesting fact: a will must be examined by the probate court judge before it can be admitted to probate. A defective will not be accepted and your estate will be administered as though you don’t even a have a will!

Basic estate planning definitions:

  • Will – Only goes into effect when you die. It is a legal document that names the beneficiaries who inherit a person’s assets and names a representative to administer and distribute the estate.
  • Probate – Legal process used by the court to ensure debts are paid and assets distributed in accordance to your will. If you don’t have a valid will your assets are distributed according to state law.
  • Living Trust – Legal document, similar to a Will in that it contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die; however, it avoids probate at death because your assets pass to a trustee and then to your beneficiaries; an additional advantage is that it can provide for control of your trust assets while you are alive which prevents the court from controlling your assets if you become incapacitated. In other words, a living trust which provides for incapacity can avoid a Guardianship proceeding whereby you would become a Ward of the State!

The Simms Law Firm recommends a simple and proven alternative to a will which is the revocable living trust. It avoids probate and lets you keep control of your assets while you are alive- even if you become incapacitated – and after you die.

So what is the downside of probate?

Four simple points really.

Expensive – Legal/executor fees and other costs have to be paid before assets can be fully distributed to your heirs.
Time – Probate can take six months to two years to process an estate. Nothing can be distributed or sold without court and/or executor approval. Tough break if your family needs the funds for living expenses.
● No privacy – Probate is a public process. That means “interested parties” cull these notices and can slow down the process to contest the will.
● No control – The process is tied up internally in the court process – this takes the whole process out of your hands. Courts move slowly because of the court calendar; public information and claims on the estate.

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