Tenancy by the Entireties in Joint Case

Attorneys are aware of a concept called tenancy by the entireties to protect assets owned as husband of law.  This is a creature of common law going back to old England that protects jointly owned property(well, it was viewed as  really the husband’s property)   Many states no longer recognize tenancy by the entireties, but the concept is alive and well in Florida.

Consult your attorney as to whether your property can be protected as Florida tenancy by the entireties property.  But the basic point is that property owned as husband and wife cannot be seized by a creditor of one spouse.

Call it a planning technique or trick that many attorneys perhaps don’t consider, but consider a joint bankruptcy filed by husband and wife.  Each spouse has separate debt.  Can the debtors assert the exemption of tenancy by the entireties in a joint case?  Two United States Circuit Courts of Appeal have recognized that tenancy by entireties can protect property in a joint case.  See In re Bannon, 476 F. 3d 170 (3rd Cir  2007), and In re Bunker, 212 F. 3d 145 (4th Cir 2002).   I have used this exemption technique successfully in several cases to protect assets from the claims of the trustee.

 



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