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

Moving Financial Accounts To Florida For Entireties Protection

A client moved to Florida from New York state where he had previously maintained a bank account at New York branch of a national bank and a financial account at a national securities firm. He owned both accounts jointly with his wife. The client feared a lawsuit in New York. He wanted to know if after moving to Florida he had to move both financial accounts to protect them as tenants by entireties assets . Continue reading

Separate Judgments Against Each Spouse And Entireties Protection

Creditors who have a sizable claim against on spouse residing in Florida sometimes will assert creative theories to impose liability on the other spouse so in order to overcome tenants by entireties protection. When a judgment is against only one spouse the debtor spouse may protect all joint marital assets because marital assets are presumed to be owned as tenants by entireties, and entireties assets are immune from collection under Florida law. Continue reading