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Hello All!

 

Retirement is starting to get real now! We retire at the end of 2017.

 

Of course I have obsessed over finances, insurance and so forth BUT the one thing I have not gotten a good handle on is domicile!

 

We are selling our S&B and will fulltime for the next few years and I would like to pick a domicile state that will give a maximum ROI on RV insurance, RV Extended Warranty/roadside assistance, and, of courses, personal income taxes.

 

We are both retiring Government employees, so the affordable care act does not affect us (thank goodness!) so health insurance is not in our domicile calculus.

 

I realize the "best" Domicile states are TX, FL, and SD...now I would like some thoughts & advice on which state (IYHO) is the "best" of the three.

 

Here is just one issue I am wrestling with: We are interested in CoachNet Roadside and perhaps a extended warranty but we have been told that FL Insurance regulations are a bit hostile to CoachNet therefore CoachNet rates are higher in FL than they are in the other states. (not sure this is really "true" because this was told to me by a CoachNet rep ;) )

 

As far as "ease" of establishing domicile, FL is the no-brainer since we live in AL.

 

One final question: how many days do you have to stay in one of these states in order to establish domicile? (I have been told in SD it is only 1 overnight).

 

Any advice you would care to offer is deeply appreciated!

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Escapees in Texas has survived a court challenge making the Rainbow Drive addresses legal for voting. No other place has done that. But, the Patriot Act is making things more challenging than they used to be. If I didn't want to use Texas, and health insurance was not a problem, I would look at the one is South Dakota that has its own campground as I think the fact that you "could" live there might make surviving the Patriot Act a little easier. It's the need for a physical address where they could find you that is making life more challenging for people just entering this lifestyle. It make me grateful for how easy it was back in 2008 when we did that.

 

Linda Sand

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Here is just one issue I am wrestling with: We are interested in CoachNet Roadside and perhaps a extended warranty but we have been told that FL Insurance regulations are a bit hostile to CoachNet therefore CoachNet rates are higher in FL than they are in the other states.

 

I have no knowlege about extended warranties; however, CoachNet's Emergency Roadside Service is the same price no matter which state you're domiciled in. The only difference in annual membership fee is whether you have a towable or a motorized RV: https://member.coach-net.com/Secured/Membership.aspx

 

 

 

One final question: how many days do you have to stay in one of these states in order to establish domicile? (I have been told in SD it is only 1 overnight).

 

Texas has no requirement to be there a certain number of days. We've never been domiciled in Florida, so I'm not sure about that state, although I've never heard of anyone saying anything about a stay requirement.

 

The only delay in Texas might be if you'll need either a non-CDL Class A or Class B driver's license. Since they require a driving test, you *may* have to wait to get an appointment for the test.

 

 

 

I realize the "best" Domicile states are TX, FL, and SD...now I would like some thoughts & advice on which state (IYHO) is the "best" of the three.

 

I guess you know that none of these 3 states have a personal income tax. All allow the use of a mail forwarding service as a legal address for establishing domicile; all have reasonable vehicle insurance rates and licensing fees. There are some differences...TX requires a special driver's license if your RV or combination meets or exceeds a certain weight; TX has an annual vehicle inspection (although you do not have to return each year just for the inspection); SD, as you noted, requires an overnight stay in an RV park or motel...if there are two of you, be sure the receipt has both of your names on it.

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When I originally went full time I used Americas Mailbox (AMB) and stayed one night in their RV Park to get my SD drivers license. The registration for your vehicles can be done in person, by mail or by AMB for a fee. I now am a member of Escapees for 2 years and have used the Escapees address in SD. I have registered to vote using the Escapees address. My vehicles are registered and insured at the Escapees SD address. I use the Livingston address for my mailing address. I do not need a special license to drive my RV nor do I need to have it inspected to renew my registration in SD.

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Thanks for all the speedy and GREAT info folks!

 

I find it interesting that no one has made a case for FL yet and several have indicated SD is a good bet (this was my gut feeling after I did my initial research)

 

Since we are Escapee members, we will obviously use the Escapee mail forwarding service and we were really thinking about either SD or FL - TX not so much because I did not want to have the additional hassle of an inspection and license.

 

So the situation now is: We retire at the end of December, 2017, and the thought of heading to Rapid City - even for one night - to establish domicile in January is just about the least desirable thing I can think of LOL!

 

We could easily go through Rapid City later in 2018 as we make our way up to join a Caravan to Alaska in May - I wonder what sort of issues we would come across by using the Escapees mail forwarding service starting in December and maintaining "Domicile" here in AL (which, BTW does not tax government retirees income) until we could get to Rapid City during a more temperate time of the year?

 

Has anyone here had experience with the Escapees legal firm? I am thinking it might not be a bad idea to write a check for a consultation fee and have them ensure I will not get my fingers burned in the legal process :)

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when you eliminate the need for personal health insurance, then the primary factor is which states accept a mail forwarding address as your "official" address. That's where FL, SD & TX rise to the top, in addition to no state income taxes. From there its a toss up as to which one is "best" for your priorities.

Its true that vehicle insurance costs are higher in FL; although that has no effect on roadside assistance programs, it may impact the cost of extended warranties, since those are essentially an insurance policy. Other cost differences between those 3 states are minimal. Besides taxes & costs, there are differences in many state laws that can impact you or your family or heirs. Things like wills, trusts, probate, liability limits, joint ownership, bankruptcy and qualifications for state benefits, vary widely state to state. TX requires an annual vehicle safety inspection, only if you return to TX; and they require a special drivers lic test if you rig is over 26,000 lbs. Neither one is a big deal, and should not sway you from Tx if that's your preferred state, but if all other state factors are equal its something to be aware of.

You will end up spending a day in any state you choose, in order to get your drivers license in person. Everything else can be done remotely or by giving your mail service a power of attorney to apply for vehicle registrations on your behalf. SD makes you provide a motel or campground receipt showing you spent at least one night in the state, but you're going to spend a night in TX or Fl to accomplish the same thing; possibly longer if you also stand in line to register vehicles and register to vote and visit a local attorney.

 

PS: you can setup your SD mail address months before you retire and go to SD long before the snow arrives to get your SD drivers lic. Your domicile doesn't change until you actually move out of your current home state, but you can change your DL a few months ahead of time.

 

....

 

We are both retiring Government employees, so the affordable care act does not affect us (thank goodness!) so health insurance is not in our domicile calculus.

 

I realize the "best" Domicile states are TX, FL, and SD...now I would like some thoughts & advice on which state (IYHO) is the "best" of the three.

 

Here is just one issue I am wrestling with: We are interested in CoachNet Roadside and perhaps a extended warranty but we have been told that FL Insurance regulations are a bit hostile to CoachNet therefore CoachNet rates are higher in FL than they are in the other states. (not sure this is really "true" because this was told to me by a CoachNet rep ;) )

 

As far as "ease" of establishing domicile, FL is the no-brainer since we live in AL.

 

One final question: how many days do you have to stay in one of these states in order to establish domicile? (I have been told in SD it is only 1 overnight).

 

Any advice you would care to offer is deeply appreciated!

Edited by Jim2

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I suggest that if you have not done so, take some time to read this article on my website, which was published in Escapees Magazine.

Has anyone here had experience with the Escapees legal firm? I am thinking it might not be a bad idea to write a check for a consultation fee and have them ensure I will not get my fingers burned in the legal process :)

I'm not quite sure just what you mean by "the Escapees legal firm" as they don't have any such thing as far as I am aware. I also just looked at the commercial member group and do not see any law offices there. If you tell us a bit more about what you are considering, we might be able to help.

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So the situation now is: We retire at the end of December, 2017, and the thought of heading to Rapid City - even for one night - to establish domicile in January is just about the least desirable thing I can think of LOL!

 

You can register your vehicles through the mail. Once that's done, you have 90 days to make it to SD to get your driver's licenses and register to vote. That would put you into the end of March. Probably still cold there, but not like January.

 

Keep in mind that you will have to return to SD to renew your driver's licenses, which can be done 180 days prior to your birthday or you can ask for an extension. While SD does have renew-by-mail, the requirements for renewing your driver's licenses by mail make it very difficult for a fulltimer to comply with.

Edited by LindaH

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Gee , you guys think once every 5 years is too much to deal with when renewing a drivers license ?

 

You make it sound like it's a major hassle . Maybe you're use to being served breakfast in bed every morning ? That would be nice , but ... ;)

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Will you continue to have a legal street address in AL until you travel to SD to domicile there?

 

No. Well - if the house does not sell by then I guess so (but that is not gonna happen! :) )

 

Right now we are full time and our "legal" street address is our Daughter's Apartment - we have A PO Box on the Military Installation we work on. For almost all purposes, we are using the PO Box as our "legal" address.

 

In 2017 - as soon as I need to - I plan on getting a legal street address in SD via the Escapees Mail Forwarding Service.

 

Any advice is appreciated!

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I suggest that if you have not done so, take some time to read this article on my website, which was published in Escapees Magazine.

I'm not quite sure just what you mean by "the Escapees legal firm" as they don't have any such thing as far as I am aware. I also just looked at the commercial member group and do not see any law offices there. If you tell us a bit more about what you are considering, we might be able to help.

 

Hi Kirk!

 

Thanks for the link - I will read your article right after this post.

 

As for the "Escapees Legal Firm" - Apologies for my obfuscation - I meant the Law Firm that seems to have some sort of association with Escapees: Loring & Associates, PLLC

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Gee , you guys think once every 5 years is too much to deal with when renewing a drivers license ?

 

You make it sound like it's a major hassle . Maybe you're use to being served breakfast in bed every morning ? That would be nice , but ... ;)

 

It is if you have no plans to be near the place. We have friends who haven't been in Texas in 10 years - they will have to go next year to renew their DL in person, which is once every 12 yrs in TX.

 

Not sure why you think that FL wouldn't be a good state as the CoachNet costs are not all that much. For that matter, since health insurance isn't a problem, I don't see why you just don't go with the Livingston address and be done with it. If you are afraid of the driving test for your license then you shouldn't be driving that rig. And as someone said, if you aren't in the state, you don't worry about the inspection (we haven't been inspected in 4 yrs), just do it when you come through at some later time.

 

 

Barb

Edited by Barbaraok

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It is if you have no plans to be near the place. We have friends who haven't been in Texas in 10 years - they will have to go next year to renew their DL in person, which is once every 12 yrs in TX.

 

Barb

 

I guess we can't have everything . :D

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when you eliminate the need for personal health insurance, then the primary factor is which states accept a mail forwarding address as your "official" address. That's where FL, SD & TX rise to the top, in addition to no state income taxes. From there its a toss up as to which one is "best" for your priorities.

Its true that vehicle insurance costs are higher in FL; although that has no effect on roadside assistance programs, it may impact the cost of extended warranties, since those are essentially an insurance policy. Other cost differences between those 3 states are minimal. Besides taxes & costs, there are differences in many state laws that can impact you or your family or heirs. Things like wills, trusts, probate, liability limits, joint ownership, bankruptcy and qualifications for state benefits, vary widely state to state. TX requires an annual vehicle safety inspection, only if you return to TX; and they require a special drivers lic test if you rig is over 26,000 lbs. Neither one is a big deal, and should not sway you from Tx if that's your preferred state, but if all other state factors are equal its something to be aware of.

You will end up spending a day in any state you choose, in order to get your drivers license in person. Everything else can be done remotely or by giving your mail service a power of attorney to apply for vehicle registrations on your behalf. SD makes you provide a motel or campground receipt showing you spent at least one night in the state, but you're going to spend a night in TX or Fl to accomplish the same thing; possibly longer if you also stand in line to register vehicles and register to vote and visit a local attorney.

 

PS: you can setup your SD mail address months before you retire and go to SD long before the snow arrives to get your SD drivers lic. Your domicile doesn't change until you actually move out of your current home state, but you can change your DL a few months ahead of time.

 

 

 

 

You can register your vehicles through the mail. Once that's done, you have 90 days to make it to SD to get your driver's licenses and register to vote. That would put you into the end of March. Probably still cold there, but not like January.

 

Keep in mind that you will have to return to SD to renew your driver's licenses, which can be done 180 days prior to your birthday or you can ask for an extension. While SD does have renew-by-mail, the requirements for renewing your driver's licenses by mail make it very difficult for a fulltimer to comply with.

 

 

Jim & Linda,

 

Great information - thanks! Also, I did not know about the 90 day rule! This is beginning to look better and better!

 

So, since I really do not have to worry too much on AL taxing my retired income AND since after 31 DEC 2017 we will not really be in AL (South GA and FL in Jan) pick this plan apart gang:

  • Sometime in 2017 (sooner rather than later? Advice please) Start the Escapees Mail Forwarding Service - obtain a legal SD street address
    • Change all our credit card and banking contract addresses to the SD street address
    • Use the SD street address as our "retirement" address when we file our retirement paperwork
  • Retire 31 DEC and head to warmer climes
  • Stay in FL until February-ish
  • Start heading north (to join up with the Alaska caravan in May)
  • Sometime in February, switch all our registrations and license plates to SD
  • Contact insurance companies, roadside assistance, and extended warranty companies and inform them we are now registered in SD (and hope our rates drop :) )
  • Prior to traveling to SD, make advance appointments with MD, Dentist & Attorney
  • Sometime before May, and before the 90 day limit on the registrations run out, arrive in Box Elder, SD Spend the night at the RV park and then
    • Get Driver's License
    • Register to vote
    • Go to MD, Dentist & Attorney appointments
  • *Poof* We are domiciled in SD

What's wrong with this plan? Please - feel free to add "to do's" or pick it apart!

Edited by HSVBamaBob

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Hi Kirk!

 

Thanks for the link - I will read your article right after this post.

 

As for the "Escapees Legal Firm" - Apologies for my obfuscation - I meant the Law Firm that seems to have some sort of association with Escapees: Loring & Associates, PLLC

 

The association is that Shawn Loring is also the current Escapees RV Club CEO. Presumably, Loring and Associates is also still the clubs corporate attorney and is an Escapees endorsed vendor.

Edited by Dutch_12078

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While there may be other issues, the one I have seen people run into trouble with is having vehicle tags from one state and a DL from another. Our auto insurers always request both tag numbers and a copy of our DL licenses. I take it you have read through this: https://www.escapees.com/fun/hops/12-public/222-south-dakota-domicile-information and a "real" person account: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2012/11/12/setting-up-south-dakota-residency-for-rvers-1/

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While there may be other issues, the one I have seen people run into trouble with is having vehicle tags from one state and a DL from another.

It is perfectly legal to use the driver's license issued by any state as long as the license is in the legal domicile. There are many folks who own both a summer and a winter home and some have a vehicle that is left at each and in such case the vehicle must be registered in the state where it stays or is "garaged." Your second link is just to one more opinion by a fellow RV traveler. Each one is clearly entitled to their own opinion, but opinions are not always facts.

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It is if you have no plans to be near the place. We have friends who haven't been in Texas in 10 years - they will have to go next year to renew their DL in person, which is once every 12 yrs in TX.

 

  • Not sure why you think that FL wouldn't be a good state as the CoachNet costs are not all that much.

 

Barb - this is what we were told by a CoachNet rep - she was advising us not to domicile in FL.

 

 

  • For that matter, since health insurance isn't a problem, I don't see why you just don't go with the Livingston address and be done with it.

 

Right now it's looking to be a sales tax issue - if we get a new rig, 6.5% vs 3% is a huge difference :)

 

  • If you are afraid of the driving test for your license then you shouldn't be driving that rig.

<G> not a problem even though the TX DL is a bit "extra" it is nothing compared to my CDL ;)

 

 

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I had remembered that Technomadia changed from SD to FL and explained the process: http://www.technomadia.com/2013/02/setting-up-domicile-in-florida-as-a-full-time-rver/

 

I would consult an attorney to make sure this was the "perfect" plan as it always seems like the "perfect" plan sounds too good to be true and often isn't. Many states have become aggressive about "tax situations". Better not to risk it in my mind. Also, I would allow a very generous window on that 90 days to make sure I cleared it in time.

 

Also, it has been my experience that when one can use email for quotes, etc. it works out much better to have it in an email. Just seems one is more likely to get misinformation on the phone.

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