Florida Domicile For Full-Time RVers
In this tumultuous age, more and more people are choosing to live somewhat outside the box. More and more couples are selling all they have, packing up the kids and pets, and starting to live on the road, usually in a recreational vehicle (RV). However, few people can truly go “off the grid” – most people still want to stay in contact with non-mobile society, so they choose what is known as a legal domicile. A domicile is a location usually referred to as a person’s permanent primary home, and must be preserved, even if you and your family spend very little time on-site. You may be tempted to choose your former home state, but Florida may have more to offer.
Domicile Serves As Home Base
The main reason that an RVer should have a legal domicile in the first place is to have a place for all their relevant legal communications to go. Your choice of state in which to domicile can make an enormous difference in your daily life, affecting income tax, mail service, insurance requirements and a host of other issues. The state’s estate planning laws may also be very relevant, especially if you or your spouse are reaching the age to make use of them. A domicile should be chosen because of what it can do for you, even if you plan to be traveling all year and spend very little time there.
Florida is a very popular choice for RVers primarily because of the state’s lower tax burden – under Florida’s Constitution, neither an income tax nor an estate or inheritance tax can be levied for any higher amount than that sought in federal taxes. The state also has extremely strong homestead exemptions (a homestead is a piece of property that will usually be exempt from creditors in the event of your or your spouse’s passing), and spousal inheritance provisions. Many choose to make Florida their domicile for any number of these reasons – but some neglect to go through the legal niceties to cement the process, which can be extremely problematic later on.
Go Through The Process
One cannot simply declare themselves to be domiciled in Florida; you must take time to establish legal, social, and professional ties to the area. While it is not required specifically, filing a legal Declaration of Domicile is recommended, since it is a clean and simple way to state definitively that your intention is to be domiciled in Florida. Most attorneys also recommend establishing community ties like registering to vote, getting a Florida driver’s license, opening a bank account, and joining community groups like the Rotary Club, among other options.
A failure to establish legal domicile may not seem like a big deal as long as one can get to their mail, but when it comes to estate planning, it can be a massive problem, especially after one spouse passes away. If you do not definitively state that you intend to be domiciled in Florida, your previous home state may be able to claim taxes or other types of fees from you because there is no evidence that you are not domiciled there now. You deserve peace of mind as you travel in your RV; definitively establishing your intent for your ‘home base’ to be in Florida is a quick way to get more of it.
Contact A Naples Domicile Attorney
If you have questions, concerns or just want to set up a complimentary consultation to discuss your personal legal issues in a confidential setting, contact James R. Nici, the Managing Partner of Nici Law Firm, a Naples estate planning attorney with almost 30 years of legal experience. This may be the first step toward ensuring all is how you want it to be going forward. Contact our offices today via our website, or on the telephone at 239-449-6150, to schedule your complimentary consultation.