List of States Having Tenancy by the Entirety

Saving on property tax by claiming homestead exemption is not the only consideration for a home buyer , one can think of a beneficial law Tenancy by the Entirety cover as well for the protection of the ownership. So what is Tenancy by the Entirety ? Well, Some States in USA enacted law called – Tenancy by the Entirety or TBE to protect ownership of property by legally married couples.

Under TBE , the property ownership does not simply vests in each of the joint owners, but another symbolic owner -TBE unit which is a third, separate, person. Therefore, seizure of property by creditors having a judgment against one of the spouse is not fully possible because of TBE unit which is a third owner. However, if the creditor has obtained a judgment against both the spouses, seizure of property is possible.

Joint Tenancy vs Tenancy by the Entirety

tenancy by the entirety is similar to a joint tenancy, but there is one very important distinction. That is , in case of a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship , the ownership can be severed by one owner, but in case of Tenancy by the Entirety, neither spouse can sever the tenancy by the entirety by selling an interest in the property

States with Tenancy by the Entirety

StatesLaw of Tenancyby the Entirety
AlaskaProtects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Arkansas Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Delaware Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
District of Columbia Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Florida Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Hawaii Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Illinois Protects only Real Estates
Indiana Protects only Real Estates
Kentucky Protects only Real Estates
MarylandProtects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Massachusetts Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Michigan Protects only Real Estates
Mississippi Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Missouri Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
New Jersey Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
New York Protects only Real Estates
North Carolina Protects only Real Estates
Oklahoma Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Oregon Protects only Real Estates
Pennsylvania Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Rhode Island Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Tennessee Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Vermont Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Virginia Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates
Wyoming Protects both Personal Property & Real Estates

Exceptions to TBE Protection

Not that every debts are covered under TBE. For example, IRS  can attach a tax lien to one spouse’s interest in a property, even when the tax debt isn’t jointly owed. Another exception is when a Court is convinced by a creditor or judgment holder that TBE ownership was intentionally created in an attempt to defraud the creditor .

Termination of Tenancy by Entirety

A tenancy by the entirety or TBE may be terminated on account of

  • Death of one spouse,
  • Divorce (resulting in the parties becoming tenants in common) or
  • Mutual agreement of the spouses

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