The location of an individual’s domicile, which may be different from their residence, is used by states in order to make a number of legal determinations. Historically, an individual’s domicile is the place in which they live and intend to reside indefinitely.
But what happens when you own more than one home? If time is spent in two or more states per year, it is important that an individual legally asserts domicile in one of those states. If an individual owns property in Florida, they may want to consider changing domicile. For some individuals, establishing Florida domicile may be the best way to achieve estate planning, asset protection, and family planning goals.
States subject those domiciled within their borders to different taxes than those domiciled elsewhere. Minimizing one’s tax burden is a goal for many individuals and may be done through a change of domicile. Notably, Florida does not impose individual state income tax or an estate tax on decedents. In addition, homeowners domiciled in Florida can take advantage of the state’s homestead laws which offer property tax benefits.
Favorable asset protection laws are also available to persons domiciled in Florida. Life insurance proceeds, qualified retirement or profit-sharing plans, assets in medical savings accounts, 529 plans, college trust funds, and property owned by the entirety generally are protected from creditors. The level of asset protection afforded in Florida is often greater than other states.
Becoming domiciled in Florida involves many steps which must be completed in order for an individual to avail themselves of the benefits of Florida law. Filing Declaration of Domicile forms with the local circuit court, retitling property, applying and qualifying for a homestead exemption, preparing new estate planning documents, and other steps must be taken to become domiciled in Florida. Florida counsel can help ensure a seamless and effective transition.
Please contact Leech Tishman’s Estates and Trusts Group for more information on Florida domicile.
Leech Tishman’s Estates & Trusts Practice Group is engaged in the development of practical, effective estate planning and business succession planning for individuals, families, businesses, non-profit organizations, and private foundations.
If you have any questions regarding estate & gift tax matters, please contact Ted Tishman, a Partner in Leech Tishman’s Lakewood Ranch, FL and Pittsburgh, PA offices. Ted can be reached at 941.877.1830 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Melanie Cuddyre, Estates & Trusts Law Clerk, assisted in the preparation of this article.
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Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl is a full-service law firm dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, and institutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, aviation & aerospace, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, construction, corporate, employee benefits, employment, energy, environmental, estates & trusts, family law, government relations, immigration, insurance coverage & corporate risk mitigation, intellectual property, internal investigations, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in Chicago, Lakewood Ranch, FL, Los Angeles, New York and Wilmington, DE.