Understanding Tenancies By The Entireties

Feb 8, 2019


Welcome to Baytowne Reporting's comprehensive guide on tenancies by the entireties. In the realm of property ownership laws, tenancy by the entireties holds great significance as it pertains to married couples. In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of this unique form of ownership.

What is Tenancy by the Entireties?

Tenancy by the entireties is a legal concept that specifies the ownership of real property between married couples. It establishes a form of co-ownership in which both spouses have equal rights to the property and the right of survivorship. This means that if one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse automatically becomes the sole owner of the property.

Features and Benefits

1. Asset Protection

Tenancy by the entireties offers an extra layer of asset protection for married couples. Since both spouses equally own the property, it becomes shielded from the individual debts and liabilities of either spouse. This means that creditors typically cannot seize the property to satisfy the debts of one spouse.

2. Probate Avoidance

By electing tenancy by the entireties, married couples can avoid probate upon the death of one spouse. Probate is a legal process that validates a will and ensures the distribution of assets according to the decedent's wishes. With tenancy by the entireties, the surviving spouse immediately becomes the sole owner, bypassing the need for probate.

3. Right of Survivorship

One of the greatest advantages of tenancy by the entireties is the right of survivorship. This means that if one spouse passes away, their ownership interest in the property automatically transfers to the surviving spouse. The property does not go through probate or become subject to inheritance laws, ensuring a seamless transfer of ownership.

Considerations and Limitations

While tenancy by the entireties provides significant benefits for married couples, it's essential to understand the considerations and limitations involved:

1. Only for Married Couples

As the name suggests, tenancy by the entireties is exclusively reserved for married couples. It is not applicable to unmarried couples or individuals. Establishing marriage is a prerequisite for this type of property ownership.

2. Joint Decision-Making

In a tenancy by the entireties, both spouses must make joint decisions regarding the property. This includes decisions related to buying, selling, or mortgaging the property. It is vital to ensure clear communication and consensus to avoid any potential conflicts.

3. Termination upon Divorce

Tenancy by the entireties automatically terminates upon divorce. In such cases, the property is typically converted into a tenancy in common, where each ex-spouse holds an equal or specified interest in the property. Legal advice should be sought to address property division in case of divorce.


Tenancy by the entireties is a legally recognized form of property ownership that offers unique advantages and protections for married couples. From asset protection to probate avoidance and the right of survivorship, this form of ownership provides peace of mind and security. If you are married and considering property ownership, understanding tenancy by the entireties is crucial. Speak with a legal professional who can guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions about your property ownership options.


  1. "Tenancy by the Entireties" - Legal Information Institute
  2. "Estate Planning and Tenancy by the Entireties" - American Bar Association
  3. "Understanding Property Ownership: Tenancy by the Entireties" - Investopedia
Matthias Toberer
Great explanation on tenancies by the entireties!
Nov 8, 2023
Maryanne Iken
Informative and helpful.
Oct 7, 2023