Even if you were born a ramblin’ man or woman (or just happen to be a snowbird), you may have the ability to claim Florida as your state of domicile and there are many advantages to make such a claim. 

Unlike Florida, many states charge taxes on the estates of the people that have established that state as their domicile.   Florida has neither state income tax nor any state inheritance tax.  While most states tack on an addition ten (10) to fifteen (15) percent to the Federal Estate Tax, Florida permits you to die in peace knowing that your family is protected from unnecessary state taxation.  In fact, Florida even permits you some tax credits, including the Federal Estate Tax credit and the Homestead exemption which permits a property tax credit on your personal residence. 

So how can you establish domicile in Florida if you live somewhere else?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no six-months-and-a-day rule for claiming Florida as your domicile.  Domicile in Florida is defined as establishing a place of adobe, coupled with the intent to permanently remain in the state of Florida.  Although intent can be measured by a show of sentiments, courts will usually focus on the contacts an individual has with the state in order to establish domicile.  This means that you might be eligible to call Florida your home even if you were born in the backseat of a Greyhound Bus rollin’ down Highway 41.

One such example of establishing this intent is the drafting of Florida estate plans and the purchasing of Florida burial plots. No evidence establishing the intent to permanently remain in the state of Florida is stronger than the intent to make it your final resting place.  Courts have agreed that this may be enough to establish your Florida domicile for the purpose of avoiding the state estate tax.

Since Florida is a tax-friendly state, those with sufficient contacts with the state of Florida are highly advised to take the necessary steps to establish Florida as their domicile. However, it is highly advisable that you speak with your attorney to determine if domicile in Florida is beneficial in your particular situation. Each client has unique needs that need to be carefully discussed with their attorney before any decisions are taken.

For more information on successful Florida estate planning techniques, please contact the South Florida law firm of Wild Felice & Pardo, P.A. at 954-944-2855 or via email at info@wfplaw.com to schedule your free consultation.  It’s a Wild world.  Are you protected?