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Domicile is a subjective concept — it depends on your intent. However, when disputes arise over a person’s domicile, courts look at a number of objective factors to aid them in determining a person’s domicile. The following list contains some of the factors courts have considered as indicative of an intent to establish domicile in a new state.

  • Obtain a Driver’s License in the New State and Register Cars and Boats in the New State. Obtain license plates in the New State. If you keep any licenses from your prior home, make sure they reflect that you are a nonresident.
  • Buy or Lease Property. Particularly if you going to keep a house in your old domicile state, you should purchase or rent a residential home in the new domicile state. Your new home should be furnished as a permanent residence, not as a vacation place. If you rent a residence, the term of your lease should be for at least one year.
  • Spend More than 183 Days Per Year in the New State. Limit return trips to your prior home, and keep a record of where you spend your time when you are not in the New State.
  • Register to Vote in the New State. In some states, it is possible to register to vote when you apply for a driver’s license. Some states even allow you to register to vote online. In addition to registering to vote in the New State, write to the registrar of voters at your prior home, mentioning your change of domicile, and ask that you be removed from voting lists.
  • File a Declaration of Domicile. In some states, like Florida, it is possible to file a declaration of domicile with the town clerk.
  • Move Bank Accounts and Safe Deposit Boxes to the New State.
  • Declare a Change of Address. Send notification of your change of address to family, friends, business associates, professional organizations, credit card companies, brokers, insurance companies, and magazine subscription offices.
  • Use the New State as a Home Base. When you travel, try to return to the New State. When you make large purchases, make them in the New State. Keep your family heirlooms, furniture, and keepsakes in the New State.
  • Change Legal Documents to Reflect Residency in the New State. Update your will and any trusts. Make sure that these documents do not identify you as a resident of another state. Also make sure your federal tax returns indicate your new address.
  • File Tax Returns in the New State. Provide your new address on Federal returns and make sure to comply with any state or local filing requirements of the new domicile.
  • Develop Local Affiliations. Join local organizations in the New State, such as clubs and religious groups, and participate in local charitable activities.
  • If it exists, apply for a Homestead Exemption in the New State. In some states, like Florida, a homestead exemption will be counted against your real estate taxes.

If you have any questions and would like to learn more about establishing domicile in another state, please reach out to one of our attorneys here.