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If you are interested in becoming a permanent resident of Texas, there are several steps you must follow. The process is not difficult, but it will require some patience on your part.
Move to the state of Texas. Being one of the largest states in America, some of the world’s largest cities are found here including Houston, Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, El Paso and Amarillo.
Establish it as your home for at least one year. Either a rent or purchase your home. Just be certain that the name of the individual who is attempting to be a permanent resident in the state of Texas has their name on the deed or rental agreement.
Purchase state vehicle insurance and then register for a Texas license plate for the designated vehicles. Also, obtain your Texas driver’s license at the DMV.
Maintain a job in the state of Texas for at least a year. Save all bank statements and pay check stubs. Also, keep any tax documents that may help prove your case for becoming a permanent resident of the state of Texas.
Receive your voter registration card after living in the state of Texas for one year. This can be done by visiting your local courthouse and speaking with the chancery clerk of the town. He will be able to get you registered and you will receive your card a couple of weeks later.
Contact the State of Texas government offices. Speak with the director of residency and determine what documents you should mail or fax them. You will then be considered a legal, permanent resident of the state of Texas.
Establishing Legal Residency Is Important And Easy
Living in Texas without establishing residency can cost you voting rights, tax advantages, state-specific benefits, and create problems for your estate. It may be taking money from your pocket and the pockets of your heirs. The good news is that establishing legal residency is easy! Read on for details about the steps you should take.
Even if you have another residence elsewhere, you can become a legal resident of Texas.
Who Can Establish Residency?
As the 5th fastest-growing state in the country, Texas is bringing new residents in droves.
If you’re planning a move to Texas, have recently moved, or if you’ve been living here but haven’t established legal residency, you should consider becoming a legal resident as soon as possible. Even if you have another residence elsewhere, you can become a legal resident if you think of Texas as your home.
Domicile vs. Residence
When people talk about their “legal residence,” they mean their “domicile.”
There is a legal distinction between a domicile and a residence. When people talk about their place of “legal residence,” they mean their “domicile.”
Your residence is where you normally live, live most of the time, or return to after temporary absences. In contrast, your domicile is your true, fixed, and permanent home.
You can have only one domicile, but you could have multiple residences. If you spend some part of the year in Texas and another part in Illinois, you might have a residence in both places, but only one can be your domicile: you can only establish legal residency (or domicile) in one state.
Your domicile isn’t necessarily determined by where you spend the most time or by how long you’ve been there. Instead, it’s chiefly a matter of your intention. How do you show that you ‘intend’ to make Texas your home? Through your actions.
There are specific actions (see our checklist further below) that state agencies recognize as demonstrating your intent to make Texas your permanent home. Do enough of these things and it’s easy to establish Texas as your domicile.
Why You Should Establish Residency
Your legal residence (or “domicile”) determines how you are taxed, Medicaid eligibility rules, how your estate is managed, whether you’re eligible for benefits like in-state tuition, and your ability to cut through a variety of state-specific regulations (hunting licenses, ability to purchase handguns, etc.)
Posted on 4/25/2019
You know the old cliché, everything is bigger in Texas. And when you’re talking taxes, the savings are what’s bigger. That’s because Texas is one of seven states that does not impose a state income tax on its residents. Due to this, a lot of folks are buying a home in Texas and making it their domicile.
So, you may be thinking to yourself, how do I become a Texas resident to take advantage of the tax benefits? We’re going to provide you with some helpful suggestions and links to get you on your way to Texas residency. But before we get into that, it’s very important to mention that your old state might not give up those tax dollars without a fight, especially if you’re keeping your home there. Avoiding residency in your old state is just as important as establishing residency in Texas. You should consult with your accountant and make sure you’re taking the proper precautions to protect yourself from the tax burden in your prior home state. Now, let’s make you a Texan!
Move To Texas
The very obvious first step is to buy or rent a home in Texas and move to the state.
Update Your Mailing Address
You’ll want to start receiving mail at your new address as soon as possible. Mailing documents are a great indicator of your residency and can be used as proof when trying to get a new ID. You should change this with the USPS but also go to the source of the mail and update your mailing address on the account.
USPS Change of Address: Change Address
Register Your Car in TX
In order to register your car, it needs to pass inspection (find your inspection station) and you need to ensure you have met the minimum insurance coverage. After that, you can register your car and get your new license plates by going to the local county tax-assessor collector office. Bring your insurance cards, proof of inspections, proof of ownership, and Form 130-U. You can get the Form 130-U here.
Here is a helpful link from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles with more information: New Resident DMV Page
Get Your Texas Driver License or Identification Card
Getting your Texas ID is a big step toward proving you’re a Texas resident. It requires a few things to be taken care of prior to applying which is why we’ve put it later in the list despite its importance. However, don’t wait too long to get to this step because you’re required to get your new ID within 90 days of moving to TX. Here are some helpful links that will help you pull together the required documentation:
Texas Department of Public Safety’s main site for all things related to IDs: ID Homepage
License Requirement Guide (very informative!): Guide
New Resident License Information: New Resident DPS Page
Register To Vote
With your new ID, you can now register to vote in TX. This is a great way of showing that Texas is your home. And don’t just register, make sure you actually get to your polling place and vote during elections.
You can register to vote by filling out an application and submitting it via mail or directly to your county’s Voter Registrar’s Office.
Voter Registrar’s Office: Find Your Office
Online Voter Registration Application (Printable): Voter Application
Find Local Professionals
Find new professionals in the state, such as an accountant, a lawyer, doctors and a dentist.
Update Your Estate Plan
With your new lawyer, update your estate plan to meet any Texas requirements.
Get Your Pets Settled In
If you have a pet, move them to your new home and get them registered with Texas and find a new vet in the area.
Find a local bank or change your account to the local branch of your current bank. If you have a safety deposit box, you should move that to your new bank as well.
Spend Time in Texas
The more time you spend in Texas (and the less you spend in your prior state), the better. Make sure you keep track of your days in each state throughout the year. If you’re prior state has a residency threshold, know how many days you’re allowed to spend there and plan accordingly. TaxBird can help you count your days per state automatically and see your projected counts for the year by inputting your plans.
Find Your Texas Style
Get on over to the store and get yourself a nice pair of boots. This might not help you prove your residency but at least you’ll look cool while you’re completing all the other steps.
Cavender’s Boot Shop: Cavender’s
Below you’ll find a summary checklist of the factors for residency and a summary of all the links that went into this blog. Good luck in Texas! Now, put on those new boots and head over to the honkytonk.
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TEXAS DOMICILE INFORMATION
- domicile – (law) the residence where you have your permanent home or principal establishment and to where, whenever you are absent, you intend to return; every person is compelled to have one and only one domicile at a time.
- legal residence – (law) the residence where you have your permanent home or principal establishment and to where, whenever you are absent, you intend to return; every person is compelled to have one and only one domicile at a time.
- residence – The place of abode, actual dwelling place, without regard to intent.
If you are a full-time RV’er or want to be a full-timer you have several decisions to make. Deciding which state will be your legal residence is just one of the big questions that must be answered.
Everyone must have a “domicile.” If you sell your home and live in your RV full time, the RV is not your domicile, it is your residence. If you have sold your home, the state where you lived in the home will be considered your domicile until you make the effort to chose another state as your domicile. Making the effort calls for intent.
If you intend to become a Texan you will need to do some things to indicate your intentions. You may register your vehicles, register to vote in Texas, and/or lease an apartment or RV lot. You may want to establish a bank account in Texas. You may also apply for a Texas driver’s license. In order to do these things you would need an address in Texas.
A person would register vehicles and register to vote in the county they have determined to be their domicile county. The address that Texas Home Base assigns is in Wichita County, TX. In order to register a vehicle, the vehicle must be inspected. The inspection costs less than $15.00 and there are many inspection stations in Wichita County.
This is only information. Consult a lawyer for legal advice.
TXDMV COVID-19 RELATED INFORMATION
The Temporary Waiver of Vehicle Title and Registration Requirements Will End April 14, 2021.
Visit the TxDMV Covid-19 Page for Information.
Welcome to the Lone Star State
You have 30 days from the time you move here to register your vehicle in the state. To learn how, follow the steps below. In no time at all, we will be proud to call you a Registered Texan!
Here are the steps to becoming a Registered Texan:
1. Vehicle Inspection and Insurance
Have your vehicle inspected. Simply take your vehicle to a certified Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) inspection station. Many mechanic shops, oil change locations and service stations are certified by DPS as inspection stations. Bring your insurance card.
In Texas, you must show you have insurance coverage for a minimum of $30,000 per injured person, up to a total of $60,000 for everyone injured in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage.
Next, it’s time to get your vehicle registration sticker and license plates. To do this, you must visit your local county tax-assessor collector office. You will need your insurance card, proof of vehicle inspection (the Vehicle Inspection Report from the inspection station), and proof you own the vehicle, such as the registration or title from your previous state. You can also show a current foreign/military ownership document or foreign evidence of ownership. Please note that if your insurance policy was issued in another state, you will need to bring your policy in its entirety so that insurance coverage minimums may be verified.
Visit your local county tax office. You are not required to title your vehicle in Texas, but first-time registrants must fill out and complete Application for Texas Title and/or Registration (Form 130-U).
The base registration fee in Texas is $50.75 plus $1 for TexasSure, the electronic insurance verification program and other Department of Public Safety initiatives. So, total state registration is $51.75 but counties may add other fees to this cost. The state portion of your vehicle’s inspection fee will be due at this time. As a new resident, you also will pay sales tax-related fees required by the state’s Comptroller of Public Accounts. Sales tax fees on a vehicle can be $90 or the difference between your previous state’s sales tax and the Texas sales tax.
While at the county tax assessor-collector’s office be sure to ask your customer service representative to sign you up for eReminder. We’ll email you when it’s time to renew, and you will have the opportunity to renew your registration online.
Note: Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces and non-resident, full-time students attending a Texas college or university are not required to register or title their vehicles in Texas.
3. Driver License
THE TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES (TxDMV) DOES NOT ISSUE DRIVER LICENSES.
But as a new resident you are required to obtain your Texas driver license from the Texas Department of Public Safety within 90 days of moving here.
Article 3 of the Texas Constitution describes the legislative department (branch) of Texas. Texas Legislature utilizes a bicameral system with the Texas Senate being the upper house, and the Texas House of Representatives the lower house. There are a total of 181 members of the Texas Legislature: 31 Senators, and 150 members of the House. Texas uses “single-member districts,” meaning each member of the Texas Legislature represents one congressional district. Every ten years, after the U.S. census, the congressional districts are redrawn to maintain proportional representation (This is also called reapportionment).  
Texas Senate Congressional District Map
Texas House Congressional District Map
The redistricting process in Texas is as follows:
- U.S. Census conducted every 10 years and data is delivered to the Texas Legislator no later than April 1st of the year following the census;
- Texas Legislature begins to draw plans and enact a bill for the new state congressional district lines;
- If Legislature cannot enact a new congressional district map during the first regular session after the census has been conducted, then the Legislative Redistricting Board (LRB) becomes responsible for reapportionment  . The LRB is made up of the: Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the House, Attorney General, Comptroller, and Commission of the General Land Office. 
Texas Legislature uses biennial sessions which means they meet every two years on odd numbered years, for 140 days. The Governor has the power to call a special session outside of the “140 days.” Texas Legislature has two presiding officers: The Lieutenant Governor (currently Dan Patrick), who is elected by Texans, presides over the Texas Senate. The Speaker of the House (currently Joe Straus), is elected by members of the Texas House of Representatives, presides over the lower house.  .
The following are the legal requirements in order for someone to meet the qualifications to become a member of the Texas Legislature. Texas legislators receive an annual salary of $7,200, plus a per diem of $190 for every day they are in session  :
There Are Key Differences Between Legal Residence and Home of Record
MoMo Productions / Getty Images
People in the military can change their “legal residence” to a state that does not have an income tax. Currently there are seven such states: Florida, Texas, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.
Your service branch may not have a military base in these states, but that doesn’t prevent you from taking advantage of this loophole. However, you should be aware of some intricacies to navigating this process to change your legal residence while serving the military. Changing your “home of record” or “legal residence” is something that can be done to obtain a tax benefit, but it is not as simple as it sounds.
The Difference Between Home of Record and Legal Residence
In the U.S. military, the terms “home of record” and “legal residence” are not interchangeable, as home of record and legal residence may be different addresses.
The home of record is the place where one was living when they entered the military (or, re-enlisted in the military, if one chooses). This term is used to determine travel entitlements when one separates from the military. It has nothing to do with voting or paying taxes, registering vehicles, or any of the other privileges of state residency. The home of record can only be changed if there is a break in service of more than one day, or to correct an error.
Legal residency, or “domicile,” refers to the place where a military member intends to return to and live after discharge or retirement, and which they consider their permanent home.
Legal residency determines what local (state) tax laws a military member is subject to, and in which local (city, county, and state) elections they may vote in. Military members may have legal residence in one state but be stationed in a different state, and the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows military members to pay taxes, register vehicles, vote, etc. in their state of legal residence, rather than the state they are stationed in.
Changing Legal Residence
Can a military member change their legal residence any time they want and therefore avoid paying state taxes? Not quite. Under the law, legal residence is the place that the military member intends to live after they separate or retire from the military. It’s the place that they consider their permanent home.
Depending on their service, and local policies, an active duty military member can change their legal residence by visiting their local base legal office and/or base finance office and completing a DD Form 2058, State of Legal Residence Certificate.
However, the military is required by regulation to ensure that military members are not changing their legal residence for the sole purpose of obtaining a tax advantage. Therefore, when changing your legal residence, military officials at the legal office (or finance office) may require some degree of proof that you consider the new state to be your permanent home.
The easiest proof is “physical presence in the state.” If you are currently stationed in a state and wish to make it your permanent home, it’s generally pretty easy. If you are not currently stationed in the state you wish to make your permanent home and have never been stationed there, it becomes much harder.
Generally, you need a specific address, not just the state in general. You can show your intentions to become a legal resident by registering to vote in the new state, by titling and registering your car in the new state (notifying your old state of the change), by getting a driver’s license in the new state, or by preparing a new last will and testament (indicating your new state as your legal residence). Buying real property in the new state will also reinforce your claim.
Unless you can show such clear intentions, the military will probably not allow you to change your legal residence. As stated above, there are some hoops to jump through in order to change the legal residence on your military record and tax forms. You should make sure you thoroughly research the process and do not leave any detail out of the process.
You need to take extra care to ensure your pay records are up-to-date concerning your state of legal residence. If incorrect, you may wind up paying taxes to the wrong state or paying taxes and penalties in more than one state.
If you have any doubt about your state of legal residence, contact your legal assistance office. You will also be required to complete a W-4 form to determine the amount of withholding or exemption from withholding state taxes if your legal residence is in a state that requires an income tax to all state residents.
April 3, 2020 by Rania Combs
A Last Will and Testament is a legal document that allows you to identify your beneficiaries, nominate a legal guardian for any minor children, dictate how your property will be distributed after you die. It also allows you to nominate an executor, who will manage your estate, pay your debts, expenses and taxes, and distribute your estate according to your wishes.
Every state has statutory requirements dictating what makes a Will valid. Texas is no different.
For a Will to be valid in Texas, the person making the Will (the testator) must have legal capacity, testamentary capacity, and testamentary intent. Additionally, the testator must follow specific formalities.
One of the requirements of a valid Will in Texas is that the testator have legal capacity. You have legal capacity to make a Will in Texas if you:
- are 18 years of age or older,
- have been lawfully married, or
- are a member of the armed forces of the United States.
You have testamentary capacity if you are of “sound mind.”
Texas courts have ruled that you have testamentary capacity to make a valid Will in Texas if you have the mental ability to understand:
- the fact that you are making a Will;
- the effect of making a Will;
- the nature and extent of your property;
- the persons who are the natural objects of your bounty (e.g. your relatives);
- the fact that you are disposing your assets;
- how all these elements relate so as to form an orderly plan for the disposition of your property
You have testamentary intent if at the time you sign your Will, you intend to make a writing that dictates how your property will be distributed after you die.
In addition to having legal capacity, testamentary capacity, and testamentary intent, you need to follow specific legal formalities for a Will to be valid. The formalities that need to be followed depend on what type of Will you have made.
Texas recognizes two types of written Wills.
- A holographic Will is a handwritten Will. To be valid, you must write the Will completely in your own handwriting and sign it. There is no requirement that witnesses or a notary sign the document.
- An attested Will is a Will that is not completely in the handwriting of the testator. This is commonly a typewritten Will, like one an attorney would prepare for you. To be valid, you must sign the Will, or direct another person to sign it in your presence, and at least two credible witnesses over the age of 14 must sign it in your presence.
The Texas statutes give the testator the option of adding a self-proving affidavit to the Will. The testator, witnesses, and a notary all have to sign a self-proving affidavit.
The benefit of a self-proving affidavit is that it substitutes for in-court testimony of witnesses during probate, which saves considerable time and expense.
If a Will does not meet all the legal requirements, a court will declare it invalid. As a result, your estate would be being distributed according to a statutory formula (the Texas intestacy statutes) rather than the way you would have preferred.
An attorney can help you navigate these legal requirements to ensure that your Will will carry out your wishes after you die.
This post was originally published on January 13, 2010 and updated on April 3, 2020.