How to Obtain Florida Domicile
Florida domicile is highly advantageous which is one of the main reasons for Florida’s continued population growth, even in the face of hurricanes, foreclosures, and oil spills. Florida has neither state income tax nor any state inheritance tax. While most states tack on an additional ten (10) to fifteen (15) percent to the Federal Estate Tax, Florida permits you to die in peace knowing that no one is coming after any of the assets you have left to your family.
In addition, Florida even permits some tax credits, including the Federal Estate Tax credit and the Homestead exemption which permits a property tax credit on your personal residence. Florida is truly an ideal place to call your home both in life and in death. What if you actually live somewhere else? Can you still name Florida as your state of domicile? Yes, you can.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no six-months-and-a-day rule for claiming Florida as your domicile. You can live in Florida for two weeks per year and still make the case that it is your “home state.” Determining whether a client has a possible double domicile is a factual question. The term “domicile” has been defined to mean a person’s residence coupled with the intent that the residence be permanent rather than temporary. There is no single definition that provides sufficient criteria to determine domicile in all cases.
Every client who has significant contacts with more than one jurisdiction has a potential double domicile. In most cases, the problem only surfaces after death when litigation is usually the only solution. Double domicile may impose multiple estate death taxes, delays in probate and additional expenses.
When confronted with an uncertain domicile question, the courts look to the manifestation of a person’s intent. No single factor is controlling; all acts, declarations and conduct, manner of living, connections, associations and interests must be considered. The individual’s intention must be ascertained from the overall picture.
Our estate planning attorneys work from a domicile checklist in order to assure that the evidence is present that will show the probate court that you are truly a Florida resident, even if you rarely resided in Florida. For more information on making Florida your domicile please schedule a free consultation with one of our estate planning and asset protection attorneys.