Establishing a Domicile of Choice: A Guide to Finding Your Legal Home
June 5, 2023
By Jessica Cook
Your domicile, often referred to as your legal home, holds significant implications for various legal matters, including taxation, inheritance, and jurisdictional matters. While your domicile is typically determined by your place of birth or origin, it is possible to establish a domicile of choice in a different location.
This blog aims to guide you through the process of establishing a domicile of choice, empowering you to legally declare a new home that better aligns with your personal and financial circumstances.
Domicile is complicated, particularly when it comes to addressing taxation, succession or asset protection. If there is scope to acquire a non-UK domicile of choice, and especially if there is a significant amount of potential UK IHT at stake, you should always seek professional advice.
Domicile is a legal concept that determines your permanent home for legal purposes. It is distinct from residency or citizenship and can have far-reaching consequences. There are three types of domicile: domicile of origin, domicile of dependence, and domicile of choice. While domicile of origin is automatically acquired at birth, and domicile of dependence is acquired through a parent or guardian, establishing a domicile of choice requires a conscious and deliberate effort.
Key Factors in Establishing a Domicile of Choice:
Intent plays a crucial role in establishing a domicile of choice. You must demonstrate a clear and genuine intention to make a new location your permanent home. This intention should be backed by concrete actions such as purchasing property, opening bank accounts, and registering to vote in the new jurisdiction.
Physical presence in a particular location is an important factor in establishing a domicile of choice. Consistently residing in the new jurisdiction for an extended period, such as several years, indicates your commitment to making it your permanent home. It is advisable to maintain evidence of your presence, such as utility bills, rental agreements, or employment contracts.
Ties to the New Location
Developing strong ties to the new location further strengthens your claim of establishing a domicile of choice. These ties may include involvement in local community activities, joining clubs or organizations, enrolling children in local schools, or maintaining social and professional networks in the area.
Financial and Business Interests
Establishing financial and business connections in the new location can support your case for a domicile of choice. This may involve purchasing or investing in property, starting a business, or holding significant financial assets in the jurisdiction. It is crucial to demonstrate a genuine commitment to economic ties within the community.
Severing Ties with Previous Domicile
To establish a domicile of choice, it is essential to sever significant ties with your previous domicile. This includes selling or renting out property, closing bank accounts, cancelling memberships, and updating relevant documents, such as your driver’s license and passport, to reflect your new domicile.
Declarations of intention to remain permanently or to retire in a place are important, but you must bear in mind the context in which they are made and whether they are consistent with your actions. Even stating in your will that you wish to be buried in the UK or electing for UK succession law to apply over local ‘forced heirship’ rules could work against you.
Legal Advice and Documentation:
Establishing a domicile of choice is a complex legal process, and it is highly recommended to seek professional advice from a solicitor or legal expert with expertise in this area. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances and help you navigate the legal requirements involved.
To show a change of domicile it is essential to establish an intention of remaining in the place permanently or for an unlimited time. Every event in a person’s life may be relevant. You must therefore take into account of all the evidence that can reasonably be gathered.
To solidify your claim of establishing a domicile of choice, it is crucial to maintain thorough documentation. Keep records of your actions, such as property purchases, leases, bank statements, tax returns, and any other relevant paperwork that supports your intention to make the new location your permanent home. You may want to consider an official domicile opinion to be signed off by a lawyer.
Establishing a domicile of choice is a complicated but significant step in aligning your legal home with your personal and financial circumstances.
By demonstrating a genuine intention, maintaining physical presence, establishing ties, and severing connections with your previous domicile, you could establish a new legal home.
Seeking professional legal advice and ensuring proper documentation will greatly assist you in navigating this process smoothly and in compliance with the applicable legal requirements.
What is a family investment company and how can it be used for generational wealth planning?
A family investment company (FIC) is a legal entity that is specifically designed for wealth management and succession planning within a family.
Published On: June 26, 2023|2.8 min read|
Your Legacy: The Importance of Writing a Will
In this blog, we delve into the importance of writing a will, emphasizing the benefits it provides to both you and your loved ones.
Published On: June 21, 2023|3 min read|
Securing Your Legacy: The Importance of a Nomination Beneficiary Form
There's one critical aspect that often gets overlooked—the nomination beneficiary form. While it may sound technical and insignificant, this simple document holds tremendous significance in safeguarding your legacy.
Get our latest financial blogs and articles straight to you inbox.
In partnership with
The information in this material is intended for the recipient’s background information and use only. It is provided in good faith and without any warranty or, representation as to accuracy or completeness. Information and opinions presented in this material have been obtained or derived from sources believed by AES to be reliable and AES has reasonable grounds to believe that all factual information herein is true as at the date of issue. It does not constitute investment advice, recommendation, or an offer of any services or products for sale and is not intended to provide a sufficient basis on which to make an investment decision. It is the responsibility of any persons wishing to make a purchase to inform themselves of and observe all applicable laws and regulations. Unauthorised reproduction or transmitting of this material is strictly prohibited. AES accepts no responsibility for loss arising from the use of the information contained herein.
‘AES’ refers to the AES Group’s separate but affiliated entities generally, rather than to one particular entity. These entities are AES Middle East Insurance Broker LLC registered with the UAE Ministry of Economy, United Arab Emirates, Licence no. 571368, and Commercial Registration no. 75162 and regulated by the UAE Central Bank license no. 189; AES Financial Services Limited, incorporated and registered in England and Wales with company number 06063185, authorised and regulated by the UK Financial Conduct Authority FRN: 464494; AES Financial Services (DIFC) Ltd, registered in the Dubai Financial Centre (DIFC) as a foreign company, license no.2128, and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Reference No F003476; AES International Limited, a private company incorporated and registered in the British Virgin Islands with company number 1839872; AES International Global Limited, a private company incorporated and registered in the British Virgin Islands with company number 1887885. Please visit our authorisations page for further information on regulation, redress and accessibility.
If you are outside the UK and we advise you or carry out other business, nearly all the rules, regulations and arrangements made under the UK regulatory regime (including the rules made by the FCA and the dispute resolution process provided by the UK Financial Ombudsman Service) will not apply to most aspects of the service you receive, such advice or business being provided from outside the UK. You should therefore clearly understand such rights and protection as are afforded in the jurisdiction where you receive advice. Local law, regulation and redress processes will apply in almost all cases, and will be different from that of the UK.
Investments involve risks. The investment return and principal value of an investment may fluctuate so that an investment, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the capital invested. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. There is no guarantee strategies will be successful. For further information, please click here.