tenancy by the entirety

Popular Terms
Joint-ownership of real estate that arises only between a husband and wife when the character of their ownership is not specified in the title document (deed or will). Both have equal right of possession and enjoyment during their lives as spouses, and the right of survivorship under which (upon the death of either one) the full ownership is automatically (without probate) transferred to the survivor. In this arrangement (1) neither spouse can unilaterally end the tenancy, (2) neither can transfer (convey) his or her share to a third party, and (3) creditor(s) of either spouse many not cause a sale of the property to collect the debt.
This tenancy can only be terminated by divorce, a joint transfer of the property to a third party, or by a conveyance by one spouse of his or her share to the other. The inability of either spouse to unilaterally terminate the tenancy-by-entirety is the primary difference between it and joint-tenancy. Also called 'tenancy by the entireties' or 'tenants by the entirety.'

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