Definition of DOMICILLIARY: (noun) / a person whose domicile is within the state of New York (Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act § 103 [16])

Plain English translation: A domiciliary is a person whose primary residence is within New York State.

If you have one home, and it’s in New York, then the answer is easy—your domicile is New York. Determining domicile for those with multiple homes could be a bit more difficult, but generally, your domicile is your primary residence.

Example: Jill is a New York domiciliary. She lives in Brooklyn with her family and goes to her Miami summer house for about two weeks every year. Even though Miami is like a second home, Jill is considered a domiciliary of New York.

Your domicile is important in several ways. One of those ways, as it relates to estate law, is whether New York courts have jurisdiction over your estate. If you pass away domiciled in New York, then New York has jurisdiction over your estate. If you die as a domiciliary of Florida, then Florida has jurisdiction. There are other ways New York can have jurisdiction over one’s estate, but domicile is the primary factor.

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Daniel R. Antonelli
Representing trust & estate clients with an emphasis on estate litigation in the New York City Metro Area.