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How to Avoid Dual State Residency

Nov 03 2017

Written by Jason C. Henbest, Esq. and Brittany Saxton


Moving into a new home is an unquestionably challenging endeavor. Whatever the reason for moving—following a new job, looking for a better school district, wanting more living space, or even hoping for more consistent, warm weather—many of the challenges throughout the moving process are similar. 

In the event of permanently moving to a new state, it is important to take action to establish legal domicile to avoid dual state residency.  Domicile can be described as an individual’s legal relationship with their locality. More specifically, domicile is the place a person calls “home”; the place to which an individual has permanent ties and intends to return.

It is important to remember that different states have different requirements for establishing legal domicile.  The New Jersey Tax Court in Samuelsson v. Director considered various factors in determining whether the Samuelsson’s were domiciled in New Jersey or Florida.  Some of these factors of consideration included whether the Samuelsson’s moved their furniture, listed their house for sale, said goodbye to friends, enrolled their children in new schools, were employed in the new state, registered to vote, got a new driver’s license, and opened new bank accounts.  

Other actions that should be considered include changing the family’s mailing address and updating all legal documents. Insurance policies, passports, and estate planning documents are probably the most important documents that need to be amended or updated. Keeping copies of all these legal actions is vital in case the individual’s domicile ever comes into question.

Overall, establishing a new legal domicile is a much more challenging endeavor than it seems. New Jersey residents who are considering moving to a new state or out-of-state residents who have recently moved to New Jersey should keep these domicile requirements in mind. But the best way to successfully relocate or avoid dual state residency without running into legal issue is to contact your local real estate lawyer.


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