Tenancy by the Entirety Law and Legal Definition

A joint tenancy between a husband and wife is generally known as a tenancy by the entirety. Tenancy by the entirety has some characteristics different than other joint tenancies, such as the inability of one joint tenant to sever the ownership and differences in tax treatment. It is similar to joint tenancy because when a spouse dies the surviving spouse takes the entire estate in fee simple. Unlike joint tenancy, there is no unilateral right to division of property. Divisions can me made only in a divorce action or by mutual agreement. A major advantage of this type of tenancy is that the creditors of an individual spouse cannot reach the entireties property.