What Does Having A Florida Domicile Mean For Me?
Many people come to Florida for visits, or choose to stay for part of the year, but return to other states when the weather changes. Some, however, choose to stay. While one is not required to officially become a Florida resident, if someone does choose to legally adopt Florida as their domicile, it may grant them a number of tax and estate planning benefits. If you are interested in doing this, however, it is a good idea to consult an experienced attorney to help you through the process, to make certain that every “I” is dotted and every “T” is crossed, so to speak.
How To Establish Domicile?
A person may have multiple residences, but legally, only one domicile. Florida law is fairly clear on what is required to be able to take advantage of the potential benefits of domicile status – two major criteria must be met: (1) Physical presence must be established – by literal physical presence, obviously, but also by real estate purchase; and (2) you must show ‘intent’ to establish Florida as your domicile. How to do this is not specified in the relevant law, but generally, intent is shown by making your Florida home the center of your social and civic activity.
More specifically than showing intent to remain in Florida, it is a good idea to show intent to no longer live in your previous domicile – when someone leaves their domicile, a state may lose tax revenue from them, and because of this, you must be able to definitively show abandonment. Actions like changing your postal address and your voter registration, obtaining a Florida driver’s license, and opening bank accounts in Florida are all examples of potential actions that can show your intent to abandon your domicile in another state, which can be crucial.
Many Potential Benefits
Once you have established Florida as your official domicile, you are able to take advantage of several benefits available to residents of the state. Chief among them is that Florida is one of only a few states that has neither an income tax nor an estate tax. This means that if you move from, say, New York to Florida, you may save a significant amount in taxes upon the passing of loved ones, allowing more of someone’s estate to go to their beneficiaries.
The other major economic benefit for Florida residents is the homestead creditor exemption. Many states have a homestead exemption, which allows certain property to be exempt from creditors in the event of bankruptcy or other financial issues unless it is specifically held as collateral for a loan. This ensures that your personal home will remain yours in the event of financial problems – and in addition, Florida law also recognizes tenancy by the entireties, which is a form of property reserved for spouses, so this exemption applies to your spouse’s creditors as well if your homestead is in both of your names.
Call A Naples Estate Planning Attorney
Florida law makes establishing a domicile in the state very attractive for some who want an easier path toward getting their affairs in order. If you have questions about doing just that, calling a Naples estate planning attorney from Nici Law Firm can help to get them answered. Call our offices today at (239) 449-6150, or use our web form, to set up a consultation.