Off the Grid  Retirement at our remote log cabin in Colorado

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Legally Colorado

Posted by: Rick

Today, we got up a bit early, showered, fed the dogs, brewed some coffee, and took off in Big Red (our 2002 Suburban) for the "big city". We took Cherokee Park Road to Highway 287 and then down to Fort Collins. The goal of the day was to get our Colorado driver's licenses and register Big Red.

I had done a lot of web research and thought we were in pretty good shape (with a few exceptions).

First stop was the emissions testing facility who could also provide us with a VIN verification, needed for the truck registration.

Next stop was the DMV to get our licenses. I knew we needed to establish our identity (passports worked for this); legal driving credentials (our NJ license worked for this), and our residency. And, for some reason we had to show that our Social Security number was, in fact, ours. 

Establishing residency--that we are living in Colorado--was the stickiest issue. Typically, they want at least two forms of proof of residency and they have to be within the past 12 months. Utilitity bills, rent receipts, etc. all work. Really, almost anything that is mailed to YOUR NAME at YOUR ADDRESS is okay. 

Nothing gets mailed to our address. Remember, there is no mail service to our Colorado address. Instead, we get our mail on a rural route in Wyoming. Hmmm.

I was able to show my W2 with my legal name and Social Security number on it. Check. Passport to establish ID. Check. I had an invoice from our home owners insurance that showed the "covered address" and it was addressed to both Lynne and me. Check. And, I had a property tax notice that, of course, had the physical address. Check. I was in!

Lynne happened to see a different "agent" and that did not go as well. First, she has no proof of her SS number. How many people still have that little cardboard card with their number on it? And, she had no W2 or other proof of her SS number. However, she was "still in the system" from having had a driver's license in Colorado 10 year ago, and they accepted that. Along with her passport, ID was established. Check.

The problem was that the same documentation that got me through, did not work for Lynne. Turns out the tax notice (along with some other documents like building inspections, etc.) were all addressed to our living trust, not us as individuals. My agent had accepted that, but Lynne's (and the supervisor) did not. We did not have that second piece of documentation that Lynne lived at our address.

I got a bit hot under the collar about this. "I got my license. I used these documents. Why can't she also use these documents? She is my wife! She lives with me!" Nothing worked. They would not budge. 

I showed them our Certificate of Trust that shows that we are both trustees of the trust and thus the trust and us are the same. If you did not understand what I just said, don't worry, neither did they! And, the trust documentation is from 2012, so more than 1 year old, so not valid for their purposes...

They suggested we go to our bank and have them print some kind of document that showed our physical address (since they are required by law to have it). But, all our bank accounts are associated with the living trust. Won't work.

I kept jumping back to the front of the line to suggest another alternative to the supervisor. "What if I write a rental agreement here on a piece of paper, renting our property to Lynne? Then, I sign it and she has the document she needs?" (This has worked for others, we hear.) Nope, it would have to be a legally drawn up agreement, etc. etc.

Finally, the supervisor saw our Colorado State Farm insurance card for Big Red, that I had in the same stack of papers I was riffling through to try to prove that my wife lives with me at our home with no mail service to its legal address. He suggested that I call my insurance agent and have them print out "something" that shows both our names as well as both our addresses (legal and mailing). I called our agent in Loveland. She emailed me a screen shot from her computer that showed this info. I took my phone up to the front of the line and showed the email message to the supervisor. He bought it! Actually, I think he was pretty sympathetic to our problem (off the grid, no mail service to our legal address, mailing address in a different state, stuff in my name instead of both our names, the trust owning most assets, etc.) and just wanted to get rid of me. (People were getting irritated that I kept jumping the line to talk to him.) I don't think he even looked at the email message. Click, click, click on the keyboard and Lynne had her license.

The truck registration went pretty well. I wanted to use our old plates from 10 years ago, but they were too old. Too bad. I could remember that license plate number! The agent was a bit confused by two addresses, one in Colorado and one in Wyoming. But, she got us through the process and we still got a pretty cool license plate number. And, it turned out we did not need an emissions test since we did not live in the city limits. (Very weird to me, but okay.)

Lunch at Culvers. Washed the truck. Gas at Jax and we headed home.

Next step is to register Lex. But, that should go well given we've learned the ropes.

We now have (temporary) Colorado driver's licenses!

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