Most people live in the state where they are considered permanent residents; however, there are some exceptions – especially snowbirds who leave the cold Ohio winters for the warmer climates of Florida and other Southern states. While these snowbirds have two residences, they only have one domicile, which is their permanent residence and the place they intend to return to. That domicile is the location where probate proceedings will take place, meaning it’s not necessarily where they spend most of their time.
The issue of where you’re domiciled may present some problems following your death Unless it is made clear which state you are actually domiciled in, there is nothing to stop other states where you claim residence from trying to pr
ove you were in fact domiciled in that state in order to tax your estate. This can be a very confusing, stressful situation for family members who are already dealing with the grief of losing a loved one.
An experienced elder law attorney will ask you to make your wishes known as to which state, either Ohio or the state where you reside during the winter, you want to be domiciled in for probate purposes. The attorney will go over the various pros and cons of claiming your domicile in each state and help you make the best decision based on your wishes and goals. Once the decision is made, the attorney will advise you to perform the following actions in that state in order to provide evidence of where you’re domiciled, such as:
- Getting a driver’s license
- Registering to vote
- Getting a library card or gym membership
- Filing state tax returns
- If possible, file a statement of domicile with the town or county clerk
You may also want to consider performing the following actions in the state where you do not want to be domiciled:
- Do not spend the majority of your time in that state
- Cancel library and gym memberships
- Sell your home
- Cancel all business dealings or move them to your new state
- File non-resident tax returns
If you’d like more information about claiming your domicile for probate purposes, please contact our office at 877-653-3450 to schedule an initial complimentary consultation.