What is tenancy by the entirety?

Tenancy by the entirety is a type of joint tenancy of property that provides extra protections for married persons. If a husband and wife own real property, Maryland law presumes a tenancy by the entirety unless the deed states otherwise. However, creation of the tenancy by the entirety occurs only if the five (5) unities of time, title, interest, possession, and marriage are met. In essence, owners must be married at the time of the deed to create tenancy by the entirety.

Tenancy by the entirety has all the benefits of joint tenancy, i.e. right of survivorship, plus additional protection against creditors. Such property is subject only to creditors of joint debts of a married couple. Sale of the property may not occur for individual debts of either spouse, except pursuant to the federal tax-lien statute. Neither spouse can convey their half-interest without the consent of the other spouse.

Under family law, tenancy by the entirety property is considered marital property, regardless of the source of funds used to purchase the property.

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