When assessing whether an individual’s residency is in Florida, courts generally identify that person’s ties with the state. Depending on how much time a person spends in Florida, where his or her voter registration is based, and other similar factors, a court may not consider Florida as one’s residency.
In this article, you will have a full guide on Florida residency in estate planning.
Residency vs. Domicile – Understanding the Difference
It is not unusual to see people using the terms “residency” and “domicile” interchangeably. Under Florida law, these two terms refer to different concepts. For example, a person can reside in a state which is not his or her official domicile.
For estate planning and tax purposes, identifying one’s resident status from the domicile is crucial to avoid costly estate planning mismatches.
The first element to establishing one’s domicile in a state is to determine whether that person has long-term ties to that location. In most cases, residents tend to have a more “casual” status than a person domiciled in a state.
For example, owning or renting real estate to spend time in a location does not make that place one’s domicile. Every year, Florida receives thousands of snowbirds who escape the cold weather to spend a few weeks or months in the state.
Many individuals own multiple residences. However, a person has only one domicile. If a person resides in a state but pays taxes in his or her home state, the state of residency does not constitute that individual’s domicile.
If a person whose domicile is in another state dies while living in Florida, the decedent’s estate must be administered and executed according to the laws of the state where the property is located.
Is it Possible to Change My Domicile to Florida? – Taking a Closer Look
There are several advantages for individuals domiciled in Florida, including the state’s homestead exemption, favorable tax policies, and a pro-business environment. For example, Florida has no income tax and no inheritance tax.
Individuals with no long-term ties in Florida are not considered domiciled in the state. It is important to maintain solid ties in the state, such as family, work, or physical assets like real estate, land, or other similar properties.
Under Florida Statutes §222.17 (1),” any person who shall have established a domicile in this state may manifest and evidence the same by filing in the office of the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which the said person shall reside, a sworn statement showing that he or she resides in and maintains (…) his or her permanent home.”
Florida Statutes §222.17 (3) specifies that “such sworn statement shall contain (…) a declaration that the person making the same is, at the time of making such statement, a bona fide resident of the state, and shall set forth therein:
- His or her place of residence within the state, the city, county, and state wherein he or she formerly resided, and
- The place or places, if any, where he or she maintains another or other place or places of abode”