What is the Difference Between a Florida Domicile and a Florida Residence?
As someone who lives in Florida, you may want to take full advantage of the benefits offered by the state’s tax laws and its asset protection laws. To do so, there are steps you should take to become domiciled in Florida. This raises an important question: What is the difference between domicile and residency? Below, our Naples domicile lawyer answers the question and explains what you need to do to establish your legal domicile in the state of Florida.
A Domicile is Your Primary and Permanent Home
You can be a resident of more than one state at once. Where you are living at any current time is not necessarily your “legal” home state. A domicile is the place that a person intends to make their primary and permanent home. This is a very important distinction because your domicile determines which state’s tax laws and estate planning laws apply. As an example, a will is probated in the state where a person is domiciled. To be clear, choosing a domicile is not as simple as checking a box—it is a question of conduct and intent. Your domicile will be determined by the totality of your actions.
How to Establish Domicile in Florida
When it comes to establishing domicile in Florida, the more steps that one takes to make it clear that they want Florida to be their primary and permanent home, the easier that it will be. To the best of your ability, you should try to eliminate any ambiguities over domicile. Some basic steps to take include:
- Get a Florida driver’s license and change your vehicle registration;
- Strike your name from the voter rolls in your previous state and register to vote in Florida;
- File a ‘Declaration of Domicile’ with the appropriate county clerk (Click here for the form for Collier County);
- Revise your estate plan to ensure compliance with Florida law;
- File a homestead property exemption for your primary Florida home;
- File all future federal tax returns from your Florida address; and
- Declare Florida as your domicile in written communications.
Declaring Florida as your domicile offers a number of different benefits—from the lack of a state income tax and lack of a state estate tax to the generous homestead exemption. One of the keys to successfully transferring your domicile to Florida is consistency in your actions. Make sure you are consistent in your communications, legal documents, financial documents, and your estate plan.
Call Our Florida Domicile Attorney for Immediate Assistance
At Nici Law Firm, P.L., our Naples estate planning attorney is an experienced and effective advocate for our clients. If you have any questions about establishing your domicile in Florida, we are here to help. To arrange a free, strictly confidential consultation with a Florida estate planning lawyer, please contact our law firm today. With an office in Naples, we represent clients throughout the wider region, including in Collier County, Lee County, Hendry County, and Monroe County.