Why You May Want to Hold Your Real and Personal Property as Tenants by the Entirety!

If you were married before you bought your house, your lawyer put it in both of your names, as husband and wife, as tenants by the entirety.

The advantage is that generally speaking only a creditor of both of you, like your mortgage company, can cause you to lose that asset.  Thus, even if your spouse makes a bad business decision or your spouse causes a car accident where you have insufficient insurance, the person who is entitled to collect from your spouse cannot collect from your tenants by the entirety assets.

Virginia also allows personal property to be held as tenants by the entirety.  You should have no problem having your brokerage account set up that way.  But when it comes to your bank account, you typically run into a problem.  Most banks practice across state lines and not all states allow personal property to be owned as tenants by the entirety. Thus, the vast majority of banks do not allow you to have your bank account listed that way.  At best they allow jointly owned accounts which do not offer the same protections.

Is there something you can do?  Yes.  But it is somewhat complicated and can’t be explained in this short article.  So you need to see a qualified lawyer.     

                                                                             Thomas A. Leggette, J.D., Author:

                                                                             Consumer Contracts in Virginia

                                                                             Virginia Continuing Legal Education

This article is not provided for use or reliance by you or any third parties and does not purport to be exhaustive or to render legal advice for your particular situation or any other specific case. It is meant merely to assist you in sharpening the questions you might ask of your legal advisor in your particular case. Please give me a call should you have any questions. (See: Disclaimer)