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How Does a Winter Resident Prove Florida Residency? Consult with a Licensed Florida Trust Company

by Wendy Fishman

signing_docsAs some of our clients are “winter” residents in Florida, more and more people are making a permanent move to Florida to enjoy the great weather year-round and the many other benefits of living in our state.

If you are thinking about making Florida your permanent residence, have already moved to Florida on a permanent basis, or live in another state part of the time, proving your domicile is primarily based on intention and documentation. Here are some steps to take to be considered a Florida resident:

  • File a Florida Declaration of Domicile in the office of the clerk of the circuit court for the county in which you will be residing. This is the primary method of determining your domicile is in Florida especially if you live in two different states.

  • Live in Florida for most of the year. You should spend more months residing in Florida than you do in another state.

  • Obtain a Florida Driver’s License and consider cancelling your old (previous state of domicile) driver’s license. If you do not drive, you can obtain a Non-Driver Identification Card.  You will need to check with your local division of motor vehicle (DMV) office on what documentation is required from them to obtain a new driver’s license.

  • Register your out-of-state car. Transfer your car title and get registration for your car “in Florida”.

  • Register to vote in the county in which you are residing in Florida and vote in the next election. You can complete your voter registration while you are at your local driver license office or at the Supervisor of Elections office.

  • For tax reasons, it would be a good idea to change your official address with the IRS to your Florida address.

  • Purchase a residence in Florida and claim any homestead exemptions that may be available.

While these are only some of the ways of establishing proof of Florida residency, there are others, including opening bank accounts in Florida, changing your mailing address, update your estate planning documents to comply with Florida law.

As with any legal situation, if you are planning on making Florida your permanent residence, it is advisable to consult with a professional such as a Florida trust company, accountant or attorney licensed in the State of Florida, as to your individual situation and/or needs.

About Caldwell Trust Company

Caldwell Trust Company is an independent trust company with offices in Venice and Sarasota, Florida. Established in 1993, the firm currently manages over $800 million in assets for clients throughout the United States. The company offers a full range of fiduciary services to individuals, including services as trustee, custodian, investment adviser, financial manager and personal representative. Additionally, Caldwell manages 401(k) and 403(b) qualified retirement plans for employers.

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