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Guide to Establishing Florida Residency

Establishing Florida Residency

By Guest Author: Andrew Cummings, Esq

If you’re moving to Florida, but don’t know where to start to establish your residency, then read on. Here’s a guide to establishing Florida residency, exiting the taxing authorities of your former state of residence, and securing a legal domicile in Florida.

*DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this blog post is not a substitute for legal services or legal advice. The owner of this website and the author are not liable for any results from the reading of this article.*

As an experienced Florida estate planning attorney, clients frequently ask what actions are necessary to become Florida residents. If the state you are moving from collects a state income tax or a state estate tax (i.e. New York or California) then you must take specific steps in order to terminate your  “residency status” in the state you are leaving and to confirm your change in residence to Florida.  

Many states, including Florida, define residency or “domicile” in a way that is inherently subjective and difficult to prove. Faced with a generally broad definition of domicile, courts and taxing authorities rely on the intent of the individual, as proved by contemporaneous expressions of intent and by positive overt acts proving intent. Generally, the analysis focuses on which jurisdiction has the more significant contacts. Accordingly, it is helpful to have a record of a clearly enunciated purpose that is consistent with the time and circumstances of the change in residency or domicile. 

In other words, you should have a record of your intention to reside in the state that matches the timing and the situation surrounding your move. See examples listed below: 

Checklist Guide to Establishing Florida Residency: 

How to Exit Taxing Authorities of Your Former State of Residence While Securing Legal Domicile in Florida

The following checklist contains actions you should take in order to make Florida your permanent state of residence. This list is not exhaustive nor must every step on the list be completed in order to make Florida your permanent home. For each item on this list, be sure to document and keep a record of dates, times, and receipts.

  1. Spend the majority of the days in the year in Florida.
  2. File a sworn statement in accordance with F.S. § 222.17 “Declaration of Domicile” showing you reside and maintain a place of abode in a Florida county. Mail a copy of this to the tax authority of your former state of residence. 
  3. File a Florida Homestead Declaration. 
  4. File Federal tax returns from your Florida address to the IRS Service Center for Florida residents. 
  5. Execute new estate planning documents reciting Florida as the state of residence.
  6. Execute Florida Advanced Directives such as a living will, designation of health care surrogate, and declaration nominating pre-need guardian. 
  7. Obtain a Florida driver’s license and registration of motor vehicle(s). 
  8. Obtain a Florida library card. 
  9. List Florida address on your passport. 
  10. Open personal checking and savings accounts in Florida banks. 
  11. Move contents of safe-deposit boxes to Florida banks. 
  12. Register to vote in Florida and cease to be registered to vote in the former state of domicile. 
  13. List Florida residence as the primary residence on all homeowners insurance. 
  14. Move valuable tangible personal property to Florida. 
  15. Dispose of the former residence in the former state of domicile or remove personal name from tax roles by contributing home to trust or Limited Liability Company.
  16. Offer former residence for rental during periods of non-use.
  17. Notify credit card companies and any debtors of new state of residence.
  18. Cease employment activity in former state of domicile.
  19. Give up resident fishing and hunting licenses in former state of domicile and obtain non-resident licenses. 
  20. Place dependent children in Florida. 
  21. License pets and animals such as racing horses in Florida. 
  22. Move professional relationships to Florida practitioners – for example, dentists, doctors, attorneys, accountants, etc. 
  23. Establish religious relationships in Florida – specifically, church and temple memberships – and change memberships in former state to non-resident status. 
  24. Join Florida social/country clubs and convert prior memberships to non-resident memberships. 
  25. Keep a journal and copies of plane tickets and travel reservations in order to keep track of the days you were in Florida. 
  26. When traveling, leave from Florida home and return to Florida home. 

Should you need help, contact me – Andrew Cummings, Esq – at Therrel Baisden LLP. We’re happy to help you update your out-of-state estate planning documents for establishing Florida residency.  

About Andrew Cummings, Esq

Andrew Cummings is a Partner at Therrel Baisden LLP in Miami, FL. Andrew’s practice is concentrated in the areas of Estate Planning, Estate and Trust Litigation and Estate and Trust Administration. Andrew is a member of the Florida Bar and is also admitted to practice in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He is a member of the Miami-Dade County Bar Association, the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law section of the Florida Bar and the Young Lawyers Section of the Florida Bar. Prior to joining Therrel Baisden, LLP, Andrew was a partner with Weiner & Cummings, P.A., and an Associate with Stolzenberg, Gelles, Flynn & Arango, LLP.

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