Tenancy by the entirety with right of survivorship in Florida is essentially the same as joint tenancy with right of survivorship, however tenancy by the entirety is exclusively for married couples who own property together. In this form of ownership, both spouses are deemed to each own the whole property rather than each spouse holding only a half interest.
Tenancy by the entirety as an ownership structure for property offers a number of a benefits to married Florida couples for both estate planning and asset protection purposes:
· Probate avoidance. When one spouse dies, title to property owned in tenancy by the entirety passes automatically to the surviving spouse. This means that the property will not be part of any probate process. There are many reasons to want to avoid probate such as resolving ownership and property transfer issues quickly, clearly, and with less expense.
· Spousal protection. It takes two to tango, and it takes two to transfer any Florida property held in tenancy by the entirety. A deed must be signed by both spouses to transfer the property, both spouses must sign a mortgage, and any sale contract signed by only one spouse will be void and unenforceable. This ensures that no ownership changes or encumbrances to the property can occur without a spouse’s knowledge and consent.
· Protection from creditors. Debts incurred by one spouse can lead to a creditor obtaining a judgment against only that spouse. Although the debtor spouse has an ownership interest in property held in tenancy by the entirety, his or her creditors cannot go after the property to satisfy their judgment. The property will be completely protected from creditors of only one of the spouses.
At Southwest Florida Estate Planning, PLLC we develop and implement personally-tailored estate plans that can help determine the best property ownership structures for you and help you accomplish all of your estate planning goals. If you’d like to start planning for life or have estate planning and elder law questions, please give us a call at (239) 216-4107 or fill out our online form. We look forward to assisting you.