Mark A. Schaum is  Board Certified in Wills, Trusts and Estates, and is also a Florida Certified Public Accountant. You can view his website HERE

Question: We spend 4-5 months a year in Florida. Can we establish Florida domicile?

Answer: Some people simply think that because they spend less than six months in Florida each year, they cannot establish Florida domicile. While this fact may be considered, it is not determinative. Generally, no single factor will be determinative. Rather, it is a series of facts and circumstances taken as a whole. The courts have established certain guidelines to determine the intent of a person. The principal factors which are considered in determining your domicile are as follows:

1) Where you physically reside.
2) Where you are registered to vote.
3) The state in which you are registered for driver's license purposes.
4) Where your automobile is registered.
5) The address utilized on your federal income tax return.
6) Whether you fulfill the tax obligations of a Florida resident.
7) Where your religious and social affiliations are maintained.
8) Whether the homestead exemption has been claimed for property tax purposes.
9) Any other factors that demonstrate intent to be a Florida domiciliary.
Thus, to strengthen your assertion of being a Florida domiciliary, you should do the following:
1) Declare in your Will that you are a legal resident of Florida.
2) File a Florida Declaration of Domicile with the Clerk of the Circuit Court.
3) File your Federal Income Tax Return to the IRS office in Atlanta, Georgia.
4) Obtain a Florida Driver's license.
5) Register your automobiles in Florida.
6) Own a home in Florida and file for the homestead exemption.
7) Vote in Florida.
8) Maintain bank accounts and a safe deposit box in Florida. Florida does not seal its safe deposit boxes upon the death of a joint tenant.
9) Join a church or synagogue in Florida (but only if you are religious enough to do so).
10) Join social and civic organizations in Florida. (For example- golf, country clubs, and Rotary clubs)