Home for the Holidays: Becoming a Florida Resident


Last year on Thanksgiving morning, Mr. and Mrs. Turkey were beyond excited for their family to come over and celebrate their favorite holiday, except Thanksgiving didn’t happen… Their daughter, Sally Sweetpotato, was supposed to drive in from Ohio but got trapped in a snowstorm. Then, crazy aunt Paula Pilgrim forgot to buy the turkey and all the stores were closed due to the weather. The Turkey family’s tradition of a game of football couldn’t occur due to ice, so cousin Ron Butterroll didn’t even attend. All of a sudden, crazy aunt Paula said, “Thanksgiving wouldn’t have been ruined if we lived in Florida!” Flash-forward to a year later and the whole Turkey clan made the move to sunny Florida.


With the holiday season being officially kicked off this week, the feeling of home means more than ever. Whether it be Florida’s warm tropical weather, the lack of state income tax, the wonderful Homestead Exemption, or the ability to spend the holidays on the beach, the Sunshine State’s population has dramatically increased over the past two years. One of the most popular questions at the closing table is: “How do I become a Florida resident?” A person looking to become a Florida resident should consider some of the below checklist steps:


  1. Record a Declaration of Domicile in the county in which you live
  2. Register to vote in Florida
  3. Obtain a Florida driver’s license
  4. Maintain a physical mailing address, not a P.O. Box
  5. Work for a Florida employer
  6. File for the homestead tax exemption if you own a Florida home and do not forget to remove any and all other occupancy tax exemptions claimed on any other residences out of state
  7. Change your primary care physician to a local one in Florida
  8. Make sure you do not have homestead protection filed on another home in another state
  9. For professionals, make sure you are licensed to practice in Florida
  10. Make sure your children are registered for a Florida school
  11. The previous permanent residency in a state other than Florida or in another country was terminated
  12. Obtain a Florida license plate
  13. Show proof of payment for utilities at a property for which permanent residency is being claimed
  14. Register your pets with a Florida veterinarian
  15. Establish and transfer financial accounts to Florida
  16. Use a Florida address for your passport
  17. Declare Florida as your legal residence in making or revising your will
  18. File your Federal Income Tax return using your Florida address
  19. Stop filing resident income tax returns with your former state


From all of us at Berlin Patten Ebling, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season and we welcome all of our new Florida resident friends!


Should you have any questions about this, or any other real estate related issues, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your trusted local real estate attorney.


Mallory Bauer, Esq. mbauer@berlinpatten.com

Berlin Patten Ebling, PLLC

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