Question: What does Tenants by the Entirety (TBE) ownership mean and does TBE ownership protect property from claims of creditors?
Answer: In most states, including Maryland, a married couple may own several types of property TBE, including, but not limited to, bank accounts, real property and personal property. In fact, the law presumes that property acquired by a married couple is TBE property.
The benefit of owning property TBE is that it is exempt from process to satisfy debts owed to individual creditors of either spouse. This is because an interest in TBE property is not equivalent to one half of the equity in the property, but rather, an inseverable interest in the whole owned by both spouses.
However, TBE is not the perfect asset protection tool as it can be broken or severed; for example:
- TBE property is not exempt from process to satisfy joint debts of both spouses;
- TBE protection dissolves if one of the spouses passes away; and
- TBE protection is broken by divorce.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact Steve Shane at firstname.lastname@example.org or .
ABOUT STEVE SHANE
Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.
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