People from across the country are moving to Florida as favorable tax and personal freedom considerations are added to the benefit of an outstanding climate. To take full advantage of Florida tax advantages, one must choose domicile vs. residence. An understanding of the difference between domicile and residence is imperative.
The decision to move to Florida is an exciting one. Whether you are coming from the extreme northern regions or looking for a change of pace from a neighboring state, no one can argue how great it is to live in a state with perpetually warm weather, gorgeous beaches, and great restaurants. While these are great incentives to move to the Sunshine State, let’s not forget to mention the tremendous tax and asset protection benefits for you and your family as well.
Moving to Florida, however, is not as simple as claiming a P.O. Box with a mailing address you can use and visit twice a year. A residence becomes a domicile when the homeowner satisfies several conditions.
There are steps you need to take above and beyond the 183-day rule to set up your residency and domicile in Florida that establish you as a legal resident. It is only as a domiciliary of the state that you are able to access all of the tax and asset protection benefits, which are two of the reasons many individuals choose to relocate to the Sunshine State.
From offices in Palm City and Stuart, our experienced estate planning attorneys work each day with clients on issues just like these. Let us share a few key tips for how you can effectively change your residency and domicile to Florida:
1. Purchase a primary residence in Florida
2. File for homestead exemption on this residence in Florida
3. Change your voter registration to Florida
4. Have your mail sent to your Florida physical address, not a P.O. Box
5. Change your insurance policy in your previous state to “secondary” home or rent it
6. Notify government agencies such as Social Security and Medicare of your new Florida address
7. Change your primary care physician to one in Florida
8. Notify the professionals you work with that your primary address is in Florida
9, Transfer your safe deposit box to Florida
10. Move your pet’s veterinarian to Florida
11. Establish a relationship with a Florida estate planning attorney
In this instance, the last point is arguably one of the most important. Your Florida estate planning attorney can, first and foremost, update your estate planning documents to make sure you are protected from a sudden crisis or catastrophe in the state. He can also work alongside you to answer these questions and ensure you are set up appropriately. When it comes to the tax and asset protection benefits you are seeking, an experienced Florida estate planning attorney can walk you through the legal steps you need to take to ensure that you are able to benefit from the lack of state income tax and state death taxes.
We know this topic can raise more questions than it answers. There are a number of steps in the process of establishing domicile and residency that may seem easy on their face but, in actuality, are far from it. From our offices in Stuart and Palm City, Florida, board-certified estate planning lawyers take a very different approach from what you might have come to expect. Our goal is to create lifelong relationships with each of our clients, to guide and manage your estate plan for the rest of your life. We can help you achieve the results you want as you move to Florida. Please contact our law practice to learn more.