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Domicile Consulting

Your Fulltime RVing Adventure Begins with Your Domicile

What is domicile and how is it established? “Domicile” and “residence” are often used a interchangeable terms, however they are actually quiet different. And, establishing and maintaining a domicile are of particular concern to people who travel often or live a nomadic lifestyle, such as fulltime RVing. While there is no one universally accepted definition of the word "domicile," court opinions and laws often define domicile as where one “intends” to permanently return. A “residence”, defined by Black's Law Dictionary, is "[t]he place where one actually lives, as distinguished by domicile". [1]  Intentions are often ambiguous, and they may change over time. A court tasked with determining your intentions would have great latitude and discretion to examine almost any factor and circumstance connected with the manner in which you are living your lifestyle in order to determine your intention to domicile in a particular county and state. However, there are ten factors that courts will commonly weigh when determining your domicile:

  • Driver License

  • Vehicle Registration

  • Voter Registration

  • Mail Forwarding Address

  • Location of Owned Land

  • Social Connections (e.g. community organizations and religious affiliations)

  • Professional Relationships (e.g. where you doctor, dentist, attorney, financial planner, accountant, etc. are located)

  • Financial Account Registrations (e.g. the address you used with banks, investment, and insurance companies)

  • Estate Planning Documents (e.g. the state law that governs those instruments)

  • The Location of Your Personal Property (e.g. your possessions that are not travelling with you)

 

It is important to note, that one or two factors that point to a state and a county other than your intended domicile will likely not destroy your domicile election, unless for some compelling reason those factors clearly point to a different location. However, the best practice in domicile is to have as many factors as you can reasonable achieve point to your chosen state and county of domicile.

 

In addition to the foregoing list of factors, it is helpful to file an Affidavit of Domicile in your chosen county of domicile. An Affidavit of Domicile is a sworn statement, filed in county records, that evidences your intent to domicile in that county. This should be completed and file as soon as possible upon making a domicile change, and certain well in advance of any challenges to your domicile. At the time your domicile is challenged, your actions will be under scrutiny. When a legal process has begun, filing an Affidavit of Domicile may be viewed as an attempt to avoid a negative outcome rather than a sincere attempt to make a domicile election.

[1] Black's Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019), residence, 2nd definition.

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