Estate By Entirety Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Estate By Entirety, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Estate By Entirety?

n. tenancy by the entirety

History and Meaning of Estate By Entirety

Estate by entirety is a type of joint ownership of property by married couples. This type of ownership provides certain benefits such as creditor protection and the right of survivorship. Under this arrangement, spouses own the entire property together, and neither one can sell or transfer their part of it without the other's consent. Moreover, when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse automatically becomes the sole owner of the property.

This form of ownership has its roots in the common law of England, and was originally created to protect a wife's inheritance from being seized by her husband's creditors. Today, estate by entirety is recognized in many U.S. states, and is a popular choice for married couples who want to protect their assets from creditors or ensure that their property stays in the family.

Examples of Estate By Entirety

  1. John and Mary bought a house together as tenants by the entirety. When John died, Mary became the sole owner of the house without any need for probate or other legal proceedings.

  2. Gary and Alice transferred their sole ownership of their home to being an estate by entirety in order to protect it from potential creditors of Gary's company.

  3. After their marriage, Sarah and Mike bought a vacation property as an estate by entirety. They both enjoyed using it together, and know that if anything were to happen to either of them, the survivor will be the sole owner.

Legal Terms Similar to Estate By Entirety

  1. Tenancy by the entirety: This is a type of joint ownership of property that is only available to married couples.

  2. Joint tenancy with right of survivorship: This form of ownership is available to any group of co-owners, and means that when one owner dies, their share of the property automatically passes to the surviving co-owners.

  3. Tenancy in common: This allows co-owners to own different shares of the property, and the right for each co-owner to transfer or sell their share. There is no right of survivorship under this type of ownership.