Tenancy by Entirety Title: Benefits and Pitfalls

Aug 18, 2022 | Holding Title

There are many different ways to hold real estate. One ownership structure is a tenancy by entirety title.

With this title, married couples have a way to own property together. It is important to note that the two spouses don’t own separate interests in the property. They both own 100% as if they are one legal entity.

Both parties to the marriage own the property mutually with undivided interest. If one party wants to sell the property or modify ownership, they must have the other party’s approval. A tenancy by entirety also comes with the right to survivorship. That means full ownership passes to the surviving spouse in the event of the other’s death.

This post will look at some of the pros and cons of tenants by entirety titles.

Pros and Cons of Tenancy by Entirety Titles


One of the primary benefits is the right to survivorship. When one spouse dies, the other automatically takes full ownership. It can be a way to ensure ownership for the surviving spouse. Tenancy by entirety can also help one spouse avoid legal issues when the other dies.

A tenancy by entirety also comes with a range of legal protections. For example, creditors cannot go after the property to satisfy the debts of one spouse. However, debt settlement could affect the property if both spouses are parties to the debt.

Both parties also have equal control over the property. One spouse can’t decide to modify or sell the property without the other. That means they can’t sell a portion of the property or use it as collateral.


One of the benefits of a tenancy in common can also be a drawback. The equal right to the property can protect the interest of both spouses, but it can also cause issues. The failure to agree on property decisions can give rise to turmoil that might be hard to resolve.

The debt protection is also limited. The property will have protection if the debt only affects one spouse. However, the property loses that protection if one spouse dies. When one spouse dies, the tenancy by entirety is void, and the surviving spouse becomes the sole owner.

Another issue is that the couple must take possession of the property together. That means the conveyance of the property must occur when you are a married couple. You can’t have one party owning the property and then change it to a tenancy by entirety later.

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