Florida Residency & Domicile Basics

Florida sunset

With the rise of remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle, Florida residency & the benefits of domicile in the Sunshine State are more appealing than ever before.  There’s more than one way to move to Florida, and there are plenty of reasons to do so – not least among them is that Florida has no income, estate, or inheritance taxes.  KCC PA can help you legally establish Florida domicile, whatever your living circumstances. 

the Traditional Route to Florida Residency

Typically, people intending to relocate to Florida from other states would sell their northern home, pack up all their belongings, and move them into a new home with a Florida address.  They’d then apply for the protections afforded by a Florida Homestead Designation.  

And KCC PA can help you with that, of course, but – what if you’re not buying a house?  What if you’re a full-time RV traveler?  A house boat navigator?  A digital nomad, moving from location to location with your laptop?  

Other Factors of Florida Residence

Your “domicile,” a/k/a your residence, is the place you intend to make your permanent home.  When issues regarding taxes and your legal rights arise, courts pronounce your domicile by considering a number of criteria. Here are a few of the factors outside of homeownership which courts weigh when determining your domicile:

  • Auto registration & driver’s license 
  • Voter Registration & voting activity
  • Business / Occupation location
  • Location of assets: bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, broker’s offices
  • Professional affiliations: your relationships with dentists, doctors, attorneys, etc.
  • Location of family: if you have relatives or close friends in Florida, it may strengthen the intent aspect of domicile to relocate near them
  • Declaration of Florida domicile in a Last Will and Testament, executed for administration under Florida law and drafted according to Florida law
  • Ownership of cemetery plot
  • Affiliations with social clubs, churches, libraries, etc.
  • Termination of ties with prior state of residence – e.g. not maintaining accounts, storage units, union memberships, etc. in the former state

The weight given each of these factors will vary by the court and by your particular circumstances, of course.  Not all elements must be met; it’s your intent that the courts are looking to interpret, and these factors merely evidence. 

There may be good reasons for maintaining a company in New Jersey, or a trust in Wyoming.  If you want to be interred in a family mausoleum where you grew up, you don’t need to abandon that plan to have Florida recognized as your legal domicile.  

There are other affirmative steps you can take to unequivocally pronounce your intent regarding your new domicile: 

Affidavit of Florida Domicile

Florida law expressly provides a way for incoming residents to declare their Florida residency – by executing and recording an Affidavit of Domicile pursuant to Fla. Stat. s. 222.17 – Manifesting & Evidencing Domicile in Florida.  

This document must be notarized and recorded with the county in which you intend to make your Florida home.  It’s also a good idea to file it with the county of your former home.  

Filing an Affidavit of Florida Domicile is a quick and inexpensive way to help safeguard your financial future.  While not definitive, it is a valuable tool for establishing Florida residency.  KCC PA can make sure your affidavit of Florida domicile is compliant, complete, and properly recorded.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended as a starting point for discussion, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship with this firm or its attorney. No such relationship can be created without an engagement letter signed by both parties.  Further, this article is not intended as legal advice to any reader. No one should act or fail to act in reliance on this article without seeking professional advice.