Florida offers some of the strongest asset protection laws in the nation and no state income or inheritance taxes. As a result, some people may seek to establish residency in the state of Florida to protect their assets from the reach of business or personal creditors. Establishing a domicile or residency in Florida is essential to taking advantage of the asset protection mechanisms that state law offers. The Florida asset protection lawyers at Kramer Green can help you take the measures necessary to secure your financial future and protect against potential creditor claims.
Taking advantage of Florida’s asset protection laws requires that you show an intent to maintain your primary residency in Florida. Although there is no minimum occupancy requirement to claim residency for asset protection purposes, you typically must do more than purchase property or maintain a Florida address. Here are five ways to establish residency for asset protection in Florida.
File a Declaration of Domicile
Under Florida Statutes §222.17, you can file an affidavit in the Circuit Court in the county of your residence to document your intent to make Florida your permanent home. In this declaration of domicile, you can make a sworn statement of your intent to maintain a place of abode in Florida as your permanent residence or primary home. A declaration of domicile is a voluntary filing and, on its own, is not enough to establish a domicile. However, it is a step that you can take, in conjunction with other actions showing residence in Florida, to establish a domicile in the state.
Register to Vote
Registering to vote in Florida using your Florida address is a simple way to establish residency. You can register to vote online, mail a voter registration form to your local election office, or visit your local election office in person.
Change Your Driver’s License Address and Register Your Vehicles in Florida
As a new resident of Florida, you are supposed to obtain a Florida driver’s license that reflects your Florida address within 30 days of moving to Florida. You also must obtain insurance from a Florida insurance agent who is licensed to sell insurance in Florida to title and register your motor vehicles in Florida. You then can take the original out-of-state title to your vehicles, proof of your identity, proof of Florida insurance, a signed application for a certificate of title form, and completed verification of physical inspection of VIN to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) office for processing. Finally, if you have a lien on any vehicles, you must contact the lienholder and request that they transfer the title to Florida.
Use a Florida Address on All Legal Paperwork
Once you move to Florida, you should begin using your new Florida address on all legal paperwork and change your address with all relevant entities, including the following:
- Employment-related paperwork, including I-9 forms, W-2 forms, etc.
- Financial paperwork, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investment accounts
- Income tax returns
- U.S. passport address
- Government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, Medicare, and the Internal Revenue Service
- Paperwork related to any businesses that you own or operate
- Professional licenses or certifications that you hold
- Membership in professional or occupational associations
- Your health insurance company and any disability or supplemental insurance companies through which you have policies
- Life insurance policies
Obtain Services in Florida
To the extent that it is practical, you should discontinue personal and professional services in your former state of residence and establish new services in the state of Florida. For instance, transfer your bank accounts to a local bank. Meet with a Florida lawyer to redo your estate planning documents to comply with Florida law rather than the law of your previous state of residency. Engage a Florida accountant to handle your taxes and a local retirement adviser to handle your retirement accounts.
You also should find local alternatives for your daily needs. For example, find a new primary care physician and pharmacy in Florida. Join new social clubs and a gym in Florida. Find a new veterinarian for your pets, a dry cleaner for your clothing, and other businesses to handle any other needs that you may have.
Call Us Today for Assistance with Your Asset Protection Needs
The Florida asset protection attorneys at Kramer, Green, Zuckerman, Greene & Buchsbaum, P.A. offer comprehensive legal services so that we can protect your assets from the potential reach of creditors when you operate a business. However, we also offer the full range of business-related legal services, whether you are starting, operating, or dissolving your business.
We can help you navigate the complex legal problems that may occur when operating a business in the most efficient manner possible. Call us at (954) 966-2112 or learn more about our legal services online. Set up a time to talk to us about your legal needs today.