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  • Writer's picturePamela Higer-Polani

Welcome to Paradise!

You probably did not consider yourself as a full-time resident of Florida

until you began attending at least one funeral (or Shiva) a month. If you also get

annoyed at double-parking, no restaurant tables available during “Season” and

the constant interruption of cable television or internet every time a tropical storm

blows through, then you are most likely a veritable resident of our State.


There are lots of great reasons to be declared a resident of Florida,

including the absence of both State Income Tax and Death Tax, along with

Homestead-protected property. All this, plus our booming tourism and tech

industries, combined with mild “winter” weather, seems to make everyone want

to move to Florida.

We are now the 2nd most populated State in America, with nearly 900

people per day becoming residents of the Sunshine State!


For some States, like Pennsylvania, you need to live there for at least one

year and others, like South Carolina, three years before achieving full-time

status. However, Florida’s legal standard of residency only requires you to be

domiciled here for at least 6 months, plus one day more than anywhere else.


To also ensure Florida residency status, you may want to:


1. File a declaration of Florida domicile and notify your old state of the move.

2. Make sure all of your investment account statements, driver’s licenses and

other legal documentation are moved to your Florida address.

3. Keep your important banking and investment relationships in Florida.

4. Establish your principal residence and voter’s registration in Florida.

5. Keep a travel log documenting your trips back and forth, so you can

demonstrate later you were indeed in Florida for more than six months and one

day.


However, as a native-born Floridian (yes, we do exist), I advocate that

certain incentives should also be created for those of us who still remember

when the Sawgrass Expressway had no lanes painted on it or why Palmetto

Bugs are called such. If you still remember Burdines or the cautionary poem

taught to school-age children in Florida about which snake is “safe for Jack”, then

you qualify.


For instance, restaurants should start providing “punch-cards” to those of

us who appreciate Florida all year long. For instance, if you frequent that locale

at least 5 times between May and September, then come October you get to be

seated without a wait!!! Another suggestion is that restaurants begin designating

a few tables reserved strictly for full-time residents of Florida.


I really am glad so many others share my opinion of our Wonderful State.

It would also be nice to not have to eat at 9 pm or resort to fast food drive through

just to be fed in a timely manner.


Welcome to Paradise!

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