Living full-time in an RV after selling your home can present some challenges. These are challenges that will take some strategy and good planning.
Personally we have lived for over 20 years in Florida and will maintain our residency and domicile, IF…I mean when we pursue my “Camper Crazy” dream of living full-time in an RV and traveling. We have already started planning so the day I retire, we can fill up the tank and go!
Some full-time travelers will purchase an RV lot much like Debi and Joe in our previous blog, however, we are not sure we will go that route. We know for certain that our home base will be Florida in some form. Some travelers will use a family member’s residency in the state they want to consider their permanent residence. There are those that live in states with taxes that highly impact retirees. In that case, they may look for residency in a state, like Florida, which will have less impact and seek to change their domicile.
We really had no idea what we should do once we start traveling full-time. Then we thought about missionaries, doctors without boarders, traveling nurses, cruisers and those in the military. What do they do? How do they handle being away for long periods of time, and what do they do about the items mentioned in the title? First, what do they do about their mail?
One way of handling the mail is to use a mail forwarding service. There are several that you can find online, however, many may be drawn to Good Sam’s mail service. Many full-time campers already have a membership with Good Sam, so they will get a discounted price to use their service.
Basically you will get a physical Florida address that you can use for more than your mail. That address could be the beginning of setting up your residency. It may be able to help you obtain or maintain a driver’s license, get your auto/RV tags and insurance, and setting up bank accounts. You can view the details at https://www.goodsammailservice.com/faq
Domicile in and of itself is basically your home or where you intend to return. From our research simply owning a home and spending most of your time in a state is not enough to prove domicile. Where you consider your permanent home and where your important activities take place is what can help you establish your domicile. This is especially important if you want to establish a new domicile.
While you can own more than one home or residence, you can only have one domicile. If it isn’t clearly apparent which is your domicile, then you must take the right measures to establish your new domicile and give up the old. This is important due to legal issues that could arise. For instance after your death, if your survivors have to file probate court proceedings, it must be done in the state of your domicile at time of death.
One of the most important factors is your intent. No one can read our minds or hearts, but they can see the evidence. Where do we maintain our memberships? Where are the financial institutions that we deal with? Where are you registered to vote? What address is on a driver’s license and passport? What address is used for filing taxes? All of these things can be evidence that we are domiciled in a specific state. Additionally, a person can file a Declaration of Domicile.
For anyone considering selling their home and living full-time and traveling in their RV, planning is necessary. It means making some serious decisions so you effectively identify your intent of domicile and residency. Our research has merely skimmed the surface of the topic, so take the necessary steps to learn about a state’s domicile and residency requirements, and if necessary, contact a local attorney to fully understand the law.
Once you get to the point where you can have the freedom of travel, you may want to have everything in place so nothing slows you down on the road of a Camper Crazy life!