Navigating Financial Account Applications To Create Tenants By Entireties Ownership

The general rule is that married accounts with rights of survivorship are presumed to owned by married couples as tenants by entireties unless the couple has disclaimed entireties ownership on the account application or elsewhere. The most common disclaimer of entireties protection occurs when a debtor selects the incorrect ownership on a financial institution’s account application. Not all bank provide a tenants by entireties option on an account application, but most securities firms do offer both a joint survivorship alternative and a separate entireties option. Continue reading

Bankruptcy Case Confirms Non-Resident’s Exemption of Tenants by Entireties Assets

I’ve written in previous blog posts that a debtor does not have to be a Florida resident to claim tenants by entireties exemption of assets situated in Florida. The reason is that tenants by entireties protection is based upon common law traditions of property ownership rather than upon exemptions statutes enacted by the Florida and other state legislatures. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in 2014 4 reiterates the difference between entireties protection and state exemption statutes where exemption requires residency in the respective state. Continue reading

Disadvantage of Foreign Residents Owning Florida Real Estate In Entity Name

Married residents of Iowa purchased an investment motel in Florida through their family corporation. They own all the stock in the corporation jointly. A lawsuit was filed against the husband related to a prior investment. Their Iowa attorney told them that the Florida hotel is exempt because it is Florida real estate owned by them jointly as tenants by entireties. Continue reading

Tenants by Entireties Exemption From Federal Criminal Restitution

When a court finds that a client has improperly taken money from consumers or investors in violation of federal or state laws the court may order restitution to the “victims” . Restitution orders require the debtor to pay money to the government agency on behalf of the victims. Ordinary asset protection may not protect against restitution. Continue reading

Exemption Waiver Not Applicable To Tenants By Entireties Protection

One of clients borrowed money from a private lender at high interest rates and very strict repayment terms. The loan documents included a provision stating that in the event of a loan default and a money judgment for repayment that the borrower waived all applicable exemptions from levy under Florida law. Most of the borrower’s assets were owned by his non-debtor spouse jointly as tenants by entireties. The client wanted to know if the waiver of exemptions would be enforceable against his entireties property. Continue reading

Selection of Joint Tenancy Does Not Overcome Presumption of Entireties Ownership

One of my clients asked me to review his applications and titling of his financial accounts to make sure he properly registered his accounts as tenants by entireties. In Florida, a joint marital account with rights of survivorship is presumed to be held as tenants by entireties unless the debtor has shown his intent to disclaim entireties ownership in favor of another form of joint title. Continue reading

Which States Recognize Tenants by Protection?

One of my married clients this week had recently moved to Florida to seek protection from a large lawsuit. The client owned property jointly with his wife in several states including his previous domicile of Pennsylvania, a vacation home in North Carolina, and newly acquired joint property in Florida. The issue presented is whether these marital assets were all exempt as tenants by entireties assets after the client declares Florida as his primary home. Continue reading

What Constitutes A Joint Judgment For Tenants by Entireties Exemption?

Tenants by entireties assets are protected against a judgment against either spouse, but entireties assets are not exempt from a creditor holding a joint judgment against both spouses. Sometimes, there is an issue about what constitutes a “joint judgment.” This past week I dealt with the issue of whether a single party that holds separate judgments against both spouses can execute against the couples entireties assets. Continue reading