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Tenancy by the Entirety Defined

Concurrent Ownership Type

In tenancy by the entirety, like other types of concurrent ownership, both owners own a property together. However, in this tenancy, each tenant owns the entire estate, which does not allow one from acting individually over the other.

This includes prevention of having one of the tenants attempt to sell or give away their interest in the property without prior consent of the other tenant. Tenancy by the entirety does require both parties to be bound by marriage in order to own the property. This has been amended in certain states which now allow domestic partnership or legal unions, so that these individuals, can also take part in a tenancy by entirety.

The property laws involved in this type of tenancy are similar in basis, but the details it entitles vary with each one. The property in a tenancy by the entirety is protected from judgment creditors trying to enforce liens against that property unless both tenants were to file for bankruptcy. The spouses own the property as a single being. In this type of tenancy, the right of survivorship is also offered in case one owner dies.

This entitles the surviving tenant, ownership of the property in entirety. In the case that a husband and wife are divorced while in a tenancy by the entirety, then the title of the property and assets would change to a tenancy in common. There are currently 17 states that allow complete tenancy by the entirety, whereas 7 that allow it strictly for real estate purposes.

Although this area of property law has existed for some years, the full use of it was not taken part in until the pros and cons of this tenancy were completely understood. For example, one disadvantage of property that is held in the title of tenancy by the entirety is the absence of 'partition'. The tenancy cannot be severed due to partition being filed for by either tenant.

In addition, in this type of tenancy, the title cannot be modified to a tenancy in common or joint tenancy due to a conveyance of the property. In order for a couple to completely obliterate a tenancy by the entirety, they must either agree accordingly in a document to do so, file for divorce, or acquire an annulment.

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