Domicile Your Legal Residence

Learn how to choose your state of domicile which is a vitally important decision in defining your legal status if you've decided that full time RV travel and RV living will be your new lifestyle. As a fulltime RVer you have the unique opportunity to choose any state as your state of residency.

RV Domicile

The definition of domicile is a person's fixed, permanent, and principal home for legal purposes it is your legal residence. It is your permanent home or principal establishment where you intend to return whenever you are absent.

From birth every person has at all times one legal residence, and no person has more than one legal residence at a time. Your old legal residence will be in effect until you establish a new one. You may have many places of residence, but may only have one legal residence.

Your residence is not equal to legal residence since as a fulltime RVer you will likely have many temporary residences, but only one legal residence which is your domicile that you always intend to return to.

Choosing your state of legal residence is a vitally important decision in defining your legal status. Your state of legal residence will determine the law for the purpose certain legal questions; such as the law of inheritance upon death and the interpretation of a will.

It will also affect matrimonial law governing the property of a married couple wherever that property is located. Your choice will determine your state & federal income taxes, state sales tax, voting regulations vehicle licensing, registration and insurance rates, pensions, annuities, dividends, interest, capital gains, and how partnership income will be taxed, the cost and availability of medical insurance and even fishing licenses.

Determining your legal residence will depend on your individual situation. Many full-timers pick a no-state-income tax state: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

Don's job was transferring to Oregon so it made sense to change our legal residence to Oregon before purchasing our RV. Because Oregon has no sales tax, it was a bonus when we purchased our new RV. His job has now moved to Texas. We had quite a dilemma determining if we should switch our legal residence to Texas. The auto insurance rates and registration in Texas is much higher than Oregon.

Ultimately, we decided to choose Texas because the state has no income tax (Oregon has a high income tax rate) and Don is still working. We were both physically in Texas and our intent was to stay in Texas. For us, registering & insuring our vehicles, registering to vote, and establishing a "dwelling" in Texas made sense. It would be our new legal residence.

So how do you determine which state is best for your situation?

This can be daunting and you need a plan. The best guide we have found to help you with this decision is a book and planning tool for selecting a state and written by Trailer life & Motor home called Choosing Your RV Home Baserv domicile . It will help you answer all the important questions and choose the state that fits your situation.

If you are retiring and going fulltime Rving you will want to consider state taxes, social security and pension income. Retirement Living has some excellent information on their website called Taxes by State.

The Escapees Club that we use for our mail forwarding has a wonderful free download, How to Become a Real Texan available at the Escapees RV Club Web site.

It is specific to Texas, but most of the information can apply to anyone. RVers sometimes have legal documents in several states such as a driver's licenses in one state and vehicles registered in another.

There are huge consequences if you have legal documents in several states so DON'T do it, you could be charged big fines! Physical presence and intention is another reason it made sense for us to change our domicile to Texas. Why risk fines or two states trying to claim you are domiciled with them for goodness sake!

Pick one and go with it. You can change it later if you find you need to.

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