Changing state of legal residence is a journey of many steps

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Phillip Foy
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Legal Office

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- State of legal residence, also called a domicile, is the state where you live and have established an address.

Before you change it, consider how it will affect your occupation, family ties, economic benefits and voting registration.

For a change of legal residence to be valid, you must satisfy a variety of requirements. You must be physically present in the new state, unless claiming your spouse’s state of legal residence. You must simultaneously intend to remain in the new state permanently or to treat that location as your permanent home.

And you must intend to abandon your old residence.

You can show intent to change your legal residence by taking as many of the following actions as possible:

  • Register to vote and vote in the new state
  • Get a driver's license in the new state
  • Register your vehicle in the new state
  • Pay taxes in the new state
  • Change your will to reflect the new state as your legal residence
  • Establish a permanent address in the new state
  • Notify your previous state's taxing authorities of your change in legal residence

You also need to record your change of legal residence with the Accounting and Finance office. Simply changing your state of legal residence in your pay records does not by itself change your state of legal residence.

Changing your legal residence can affect a variety of things, to include:

  • Location of will probation
  • Liability for state inheritance taxes
  • State voting rights
  • Wartime service bonuses
  • The right to homestead, veterans’ claims or tax exemptions
  • Family members’ in-state tuition rights
  • Applicability of community property principles for divorce

When considering a change of legal residence, do a complete analysis of all factors involved. Ensure you are consistent in your change.

If you want to change your state of legal residence to Oklahoma for the state tax benefit, take as many proper actions listed above as possible to ensure a valid change.

For more information, call the Vance Legal Office, 580-213-7404.