Tenancy by the entirety is the default type of legal ownership when a qualified married couple purchases real estate property together in Florida. Continue reading to learn more about the requirements, advantages and termination circumstances for this type of ownership.
The following requirements characterize the tenancy by the entirety type of ownership:
- The couple were married when they received the title to the property.
- The couple assumed the title simultaneously and in the same document.
- The couple has joint ownership and control.
- Each spouse owns 100% of the property.
- After the death of one, the remaining spouse becomes the sole owner.
Here are two of the most significant advantages to owning a property as tenancy by the entirety.
Shielding from creditors
Because each spouse owns 100%, most creditors cannot seize the property unless the debt is in both names. That’s why both spouses must sign the mortgage agreement in Florida if each person is on the deed, even if only one name is on the note. This document gives the lender the right to place a mortgage lien on the property at closing.
The right of survivorship ensures that the remaining spouse owns the property after the death of their spouse, regardless of what the will may say. While some other possessions may go through a possibly costly and lengthy probate process before distribution to heirs, a tenancy by the entirety type of ownership exempts the home from probate.
Tenancy by the entirety ceases to be in effect following a death or a divorce. A divorce converts the joint ownership to a tenants-in-common type, and a judge may order that the former spouses sell the home and split the proceeds, or an order may grant one spouse total ownership.
Don’t ignore your ownership rights. You and your spouse each own 100% of the home, so you have an equal say in the disposal and improvements of the property.