The New York County Surrogate’s Court has held that a decedent reestablished his domicile in New York.
In 2003, decedent changed his domicile from New York to Florida. The parties did not contest this fact. Instead, the issue before the Surrogate’s Court was whether decedent later abandoned that domicile and reestablished it in New York.
There were certain facts evidencing that decedent maintained his domicile in Florida. Those facts included the following: (a) decedent only had a Florida’s driver’s license; (b) decedent had his car registered in Florida; (c) decedent voted in Florida by absentee ballot; (d) decedent declared his Fort Lauderdale residence as his homestead; and (e) decedent executed five separate Wills in which he declared Florida as his domicile.
There were, however, also facts indicating that decedent changed his domicile to New York. Those facts included the following: (a) although decedent owned a home in Florida, he co-owned an apartment in New York City with his domestic partner; (b) decedent maintained connections with New York where, for example, he had concert and theatre subscriptions, made his charitable contributions, and had his financial advisors, and all his doctors and other health care professionals were located; (c) in 2008, when decedent was diagnosed with cancer, decedent remained in New York for medical treatment and did not return to Florida; (d) papers completed in connection with decedent’s marriage to his domestic partner referred to New York as his domicile; and (e) decedent met with, and then retained, a New York accountant to prepare his tax returns, with the clear intention of filing as a New York resident.
Based on all facts and circumstances, the Surrogate’s Court determined that decedent reestablished his domicile in New York where his friends, family and spouse where located.