A person can own many residences but can only have one domicile. A domicile is your “true home,” which you use as your base. Domicile is legally defined as the place where a person has a fixed, permanent home and principal establishment. Why is your legal domicile important? It is tied to your citizenship, voting rights, taxes, and estate planning. Estate planning in Florida can be highly beneficial, but establishing a domicile in Florida is essential first. If you are new to the process of Florida domicile planning, your lawyers at The Millman Law Group can help you understand the details and consequences of establishing a domicile in Florida.
What Is the Difference Between Residency and Domicile?
Residency is focused on your physical presence in the state, while domicile is declared when you make a permanent home in Florida. Florida residency can often be established by renting or owning real estate in Florida or spending an extended period in the state. This is often how “snowbirds” establish residency. However, those people are still considered official residents of their home states, which means they pay taxes in those states, and even if they pass away in Florida, their estates will be distributed by the laws of their home states.
If you establish a domicile in Florida, you pay taxes in this state, and your estate will be disbursed after your death according to Florida law. Depending on your estate planning goals, you may want to establish residency first and then declare your domicile in Florida.
How to Establish a Domicile in Florida
Florida domicile planning helps you understand how to establish a domicile in this state and ensure that your estate plan will be established according to Florida law. Establishing a Florida domicile can be especially beneficial for those faced with end-of-life care decisions, inheritance, trust management, and more. Florida domicile planning includes the following steps to establish your domicile:
- Purchase or rent a primary residence in Florida
- Register to vote in Florida
- Get a Florida driver’s license
- Register your car(s) in Florida
- Transfer your bank accounts to Florida
- Change your mailing address to Florida
- Live in Florida for most of the year
- File your last income tax return in your former home state or file a non-resident income tax return in your former home state
- File a Florida Declaration of Domicile
How Does a Florida Domicile Impact Your Estate Plan?
Establishing a Florida domicile can provide significant tax advantages when managing your wealth and estate tax planning. In Florida, there is no income tax, taxes on retirement income or Social Security benefits, and certain exemptions available on property taxes.
Florida also has generous asset protection laws that allow residents to protect their investments from creditors. Florida is also one of several states that offers Lady Bird deeds, which provide more flexibility than traditional life estate deeds.
Florida offers many modern estate planning strategies, so speaking with an estate planning attorney who can help you navigate the options available is essential. If you want to make Florida your primary residence, exploring Florida domicile planning is vital to ensure that you can benefit from all estate planning benefits in this state.
Estate Planning Made Easy With Millman Law Group
Millman Law Group, PLLC is rare because it’s one of the only law firms that offer life planning in South Florida. From life care planning to the preparation of detailed estate plans, Millman Law Group has committed to serving Floridian elderly communities in Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Ocean Ridge, Hillsboro Beach, and many other areas since 2018. Our dedicated team also specializes in special needs Trusts and catering to any age demographic because we know for certain it’s never too early to start preparing you and your family for your future. For the latest news in estate planning and elder care law, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Pinterest. You can also contact us at 561-463-6480.