What Does It Mean to have a Florida Domicile?
Your domicile is the state that you intend to make your permanent and primary home. There are significant benefits to establishing a domicile in Florida. For example, there is no state income tax, no capital gains tax, no estate tax, and there are additional asset protection laws.
That being said, moving to Florida is not necessarily sufficient to make the state your legal domicile—particularly if you still own property in another jurisdiction. Here, our Tampa asset protection lawyers explain the difference between domicile and residency and we highlight what you need to do to establish your domicile in Florida.
Florida Domicile: Defined
As was mentioned, your domicile is your permanent and primary home. This is one of the most important things that you need to know: Becoming a resident of Florida is not necessarily the same thing as establishing a Florida domicile. As an example, if you spend part of the year in New York and part of the year in Tampa, your domicile could theoretically be in either jurisdiction.
Domicile matters. It determines which state’s tax laws and estate laws govern your property. If you have a domicile in Florida, your will goes through probate in Florida. Otherwise, your will may be probated in another state. Even worse, if your domicile is unclear, there could be a serious dispute over what state has jurisdiction over your estate.
Four Steps You Can Take to Establish Your Domicile in Hillsborough County
Your domicile is determined based on your intent and your actions. In order to ensure that your selected domicile (Florida) is respected, there are proactive measures that you can take. Here are four steps that you can take to establish a domicile in Hillsborough County:
- File a Declaration: First and foremost, you should declare your domicile. A domicile declaration form should be filed with the Hillsborough County Clerk.
- Register to Vote: To establish a Florida domicile, you should register to vote in the state and take your name off of the voter list in all other states.
- Update License and Registration: Next, you should get a Florida driver’s license, register your primary vehicle in Florida, and update your auto insurance policy to reflect Florida residence.
- File Federal Taxes from a Florida Address: Finally, update your tax information with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). File all future tax returns from your Florida address.
Finally, it is recommended that you review and revise your estate planning documents to ensure that they are fully consistent with a Florida domicile. By doing so, you will be in the best position to reduce confusion and take advantage of tax/asset protection benefits offered by Florida law.
Call Our Tampa, FL Estate Planning Attorney for Help
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Tampa asset protection lawyers are committed to effective, solutions-focused advocacy. If you have questions about establishing your domicile in Florida, we can help. For a strictly confidential consultation, please contact us now. We offer estate planning services throughout Hillsborough County, including in Carrollwood, Citrus Park, Bloomingdale, Ruskin, and Northdale.