Are you really prepared to make the move?
- On top of great weather, Florida is business friendly, it has no state income or inheritance tax, and it has great asset protection laws.
- There are many misconceptions about domiciling in Florida, including misconceptions about property ownership, residency duration, driver’s license and voter registration.
- On top of having good sunscreen, you’ll need a CPA, a financial advisor and other professionals with domicile experience.
Lately, many of you have been asking what Illinois residents need to do in order to domicile in Florida. According to Rob O’Dell of Wheaton Wealth Partners, there are three key reasons why Illinois residents are considering Florida as their new home: taxes, estate planning and creditor protection. (For more insights, see the video interview with O’Dell that is posted above.)
O’Dell, who has offices in Wheaton, Illinois, and Naples, Florida, points out that the Sunshine State has no income tax and no state inheritance or estate tax. Even better, Florida has one of the best asset protection laws in the United States. “It’s no wonder that Enron and O.J. [Simpson] moved to Florida after their trials,” said O’Dell.
And, of course, there’s Florida’s year-round great weather, a far cry from the “brutal” Illinois winters we’ve been having. (See the video above.)
But you’ve got to do more than simply pack your bags and sunscreen and buy a condo by the beach. You need to prove that you are a Florida resident.
Domiciling myths and misconception
According to O’Dell, to prove you are a resident of Florida, changing your driver’s license and voter registration to the state of Florida will help. But what many folks overlook is that you DON’T have to own property there to qualify as a resident and you don’t have to live there for six months. The truth is that you have to be OUT of the state of Illinois for six months and one day. But not entirely in Florida. So, you might spend four months in Florida, go overseas for two months and go out west for a month and a half. “It’s being out of the state of Illinois that’s the real secret, not how much time you spend in Florida,” said O’Dell.
O’Dell further explains that there are a number of financial benefits to domiciling in Florida as well. Again, there is no state income tax in Florida, which can be significant for high income earners in Illinois. Also Florida is a “pro-business” state. “It is one of the fastest-growing areas in the country. If you are going to start a business or take a business to Florida, chances are you will thrive in that state,” observed O’Dell.
Still, you need to prove your “intent” to domicile there. “Northern states like Illinois are chasing their residents down,” said O’Dell. “Not only do you have to show that you have been out of the state of Illinois for six months and registered to vote and drive in Florida, but you have to demonstrate that you are spending holidays there. Your family heirlooms are there along with your primary care physicians.” added O’Dell.
So where can you find help if you are looking to establish this domicile?
According to O’Dell, you can go to the web to find CPAs and attorneys, but there is so much information online that you “really need a guide to put it all together and organize [the] process of becoming a Florida resident.”
That’s why Rob and I are hosting two events together in September about domiciling in Florida. One will be in the western suburbs near Oakbrook, and the other one will be here in Glenview. We’ll be joined by an attorney who specializes in Florida domiciling issues.
Click here for more information about our September 17 and September 18 free seminars or call 888-339-5854 to make your reservation. Seating is limited.
Until next time, enjoy. Gary
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