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Tenancy By The Entirety States and Community Property States

The definition of Tenancy by the Entirety (abbreviated T by E) is as follows: A type of ownership where a husband and wife each owns an undivided interest in the property. Another trait is Right of Survivorship, meaning that when one spouse dies, the other is entitled to receive the share of the one who died.

Tenancy by the Entirety ownership lets spouses own property together as a legal unit. The creditors of an individual spouse are not allowed to seize and sell the interest of the debtor spouse. Only creditors who have judgments against both the husband and the wife may attach and sell property held in this manner.

The definition of a Community Property State is a state in which the law considers that property acquired by a married couple during their marriage is joint property. This is the case even if it was acquired in the name of only one of the spouses. A civil judgment against one spouse can be enforced by seizing the assets of the debtor as well as the assets of the other spouse and those held jointly by both spouses.

The concept is that the husband and wife each obtain a one-half interest what is called community property. When the asset was obtained is one determining factor. Community property is typically considered to be the assets that couple owns and that were obtained while married. An exception might be separate property owned by either spouse individually. Separate property includes the assets that each individual brings into the marriage or that either spouse inherits during the marriage.

States that have adopted such statutes that utilize a community property method of dividing resources were patterned after Spain and France, each of which are influenced by Napoleonic Code.

The following is a table of the Tenancy by the Entirety States and how each relates to real and personal property. The table also specifies the Community Property States.

States Tenancyiby
Personal  Property  Community
Property State
Alabama No
Alaska Yes Yes
Arizona No Yes
Arkansas Yes Yes
California No
Colorado No
Connecticut No
Delaware Yes Yes Yes  
District of Columbia Yes Yes Yes  
Florida Yes Yes
Georgia No
Hawaii Yes Yes
Idaho No Yes
Illinois Yes Yes
Indiana Yes Yes
Iowa No
Kansas No
Kentucky Yes Yes
Louisiana No Yes
Maine No
Maryland Yes Yes Yes  
Massachusetts Yes Yes Yes  
Michigan Yes Yes
Minnesota No
Mississippi Yes Yes Yes  
Missouri Yes Yes
Montana No
Nebraska No
Nevada No Yes
New Hampshire No
New Jersey Yes Yes
New Mexico No Yes
New York Yes Yes
North Carolina Yes Yes
North Dakota No
Ohio No
Oklahoma Yes Yes Yes  
Oregon Yes Yes No  
Pennsylvania Yes Yes Yes  
Rhode Island Yes Yes
South Carolina No
South Dakota No
Tennessee Yes Yes Yes  
Texas No   Yes
Utah No
Vermont Yes Yes Yes  
Virginia Yes Yes Yes  
Washington No   Yes
West Virginia No
Wisconsin No Yes
Wyoming Yes Yes


The information here was believed to be accurate at the time it was published but no warranties or guarantees are given about the accuracy or completeness of the information.