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Domicile Planning for Individuals, Estates and Trusts: Key State Tax Issues and Shifting Residency to Maximize Tax Benefits

Note: CPE credit is not offered on this program

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, February 20, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide estate planners and advisers with an in-depth analysis of domicile planning for individuals and their wealth planning structures. The panel will discuss the criteria states use to tax individuals and trusts, and critical elements for shifting the basis for taxation from one state to another to avoid high taxes and to gain the use of certain state-specific exemptions and benefits.


The laws of domicile impact an individual’s estate plan and wealth planning structures. For this reason, many individuals (particularly those who live in high income tax states such as California, New York, and New Jersey) seek to establish domicile in states with little to no income tax to further estate planning and income tax goals. The panelists will discuss important steps in pre-domicile planning, along with best practices for maintaining the new domicile once it is established in light of challenges from state taxing authorities.

State income tax treatment of trusts can be a substantial expense, as the domicile of a trust impacts the taxes paid by the trust and its beneficiaries. Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision in N.C. Dep’t of Rev. v. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust, comprehensive review of the past and current residences of trust grantors, trustees, beneficiaries, and the trust itself to determine whether a change to the trust situs is warranted. There are, of course, benefits to a trust being taxed in a low or no tax state. There are a number of ways to “relocate” a trust, including decanting, moving trust assets, a formal situs change, or a change of trustees. Of course, the laws of the incoming jurisdiction applicable to trusts must also be reviewed in full before the change of situs can be fully accomplished.

Listen as our experienced panel provides a complete analysis of the criteria states use to tax individuals and trusts, and outlines the key elements for shifting domicile from one state to another.



  1. Individuals and estates
    1. Domicile v. residency
    2. Factors state taxing authorities look to in determining domicile
    3. Considerations in changing domicile
  2. Domicile planning
    1. Pre-domicile planning
    2. Making it stick: best practices for maintaining the new domicile
    3. Domicile audits
  3. Trusts
    1. Residency factors
    2. Strategic situs considerations to minimize income taxes
    3. Popular jurisdictions - Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, Florida, and Nevada
    4. Impact of N.C. Dep't of Revenue v. Kaestner 1992 Family Trust
  4. Changes to trust situs: Fiduciary changes, trust modifications, and decanting


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How do domicile and situs impact trust and estate planning?
  • What steps should an individual take to establish domicile in a new state?
  • What are the critical factors in determining whether a trust is resident or nonresident for state tax purposes?
  • What impact does N.C. Dep’t of Rv. V. Kimberly Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust have on domicile planning?


Emans, Patrick
Patrick C. Emans

Holland & Knight

Mr. Emans is a Miami attorney who serves as general counsel to wealthy individuals, their families and their...  |  Read More

Kamen, Shaina
Shaina S. Kamen

Senior Counsel
Holland & Knight

Ms. Kamen concentrates her practice on sophisticated trusts and estates matters for individuals and families. She...  |  Read More

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