Steps for Establishing Florida Residency

Florida residency or domicile has valuable benefits like no income tax and homestead exemption

Perhaps you spend six months in Connecticut and six months in Florida. You own property in both states, previously were considered a resident of Connecticut, but would like to make Florida your official state of residency. An individual can take a number of steps to establish Florida residency

Is Dual Residency Possible?

According to federal law, dual residency is not allowed. It’s necessary, then, to establish legal resident status in one state and only one state, no matter how many properties a person might own.

While an individual may own homes in several states, only one residence can be their domicile. By definition, “The domicile is the home, the fixed place of habitation; while residence is a transient place of dwelling.” Of course, every state has different requirements to provide residency and those requirements might differ from department to department.

How Can I Establish My Florida Residency?

According to the Florida Department of State, “there are no general rules for establishing residency in Florida.” In fact, status may hinge on the reason for becoming a Florida resident as institutions and agencies maintain different rules and regulations. The following actions may help prove resident status:

  • Declaration of Domicile. An individual who is eligible to become a Florida resident may file a Declaration of Domicile form with the clerk of the county in which they reside. This document is “a sworn statement that his or her place of abode in Florida constitutes his or her predominant and principal home, and that he or she intends to continue it permanently as such.” Note this form is not required to prove residency, but it helps.
  • Homestead exemption. If you own Florida property used as a primary residence, file a homestead exemption.
  • In-state tuition. To be considered legal residents, students must have lived in Florida for a year, bought a residence to live in, or “established a domicile” in Florida.
  • Tax Returns. File state and federal tax returns using your Florida address.
  • Registrations and Licenses. Use your Florida address for voter registration, car registrations, driver’s license, passport, and professional licenses.
  • Estate Planning. As soon as you decide to make Florida your permanent residence, have your attorney prepare a new Will that conforms with Florida law and states that you are a Florida resident.
  • Physical Presence. Make sure you occupy a dwelling in Florida at least six months of the year.
  • Contact Information. Give your Florida address to the Social Security Administration, United States Post Office, credit card companies, insurance companies, and anyone else who needs to know your official address.

Establishing residency in one state while owning property in another can be a complex process. It’s best to consult with a qualified Palm City lawyer.

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