Tenancy by the Entirety

Definition - What does Tenancy by the Entirety mean?

Tenancy by the entirety refers to a concurrent estate that a married couple own together, and each person's share is equal and undivided. In other words, both partners have complete ownership of the property. This co-ownership also comes with the right of survivorship so that if one spouse dies, their share automatically transfers to the surviving spouse. Furthermore, one partner cannot sell their interest in the property without the other's consent.

It may also be known as tenancy by entirety or tenancy by the entireties.

Insuranceopedia explains Tenancy by the Entirety

An example of tenancy by the entirety would be if a husband and a wife buy an old inn together. In this circumstance, each spouse would have complete ownership of the property, unlike in a joint tenancy or tenancy in common arrangement. As a tenancy by the entirety allows two people to both own property as a single legal entity, it is only available to married couples at the time they receive the property title. Moreover, it is legal for all types of property in around half of the U.S. states, but some only permit it for real estate.

In terms of insurance, a tenancy by the entirety may have some ramifications. For instance, a wife may have a claim denied if her husband purposely destroys her personal property covered in the homeowner's policy. The insurer would consider them as one legal entity for insurance purposes.

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