Tenancy by the Entirety
Tenancy by the Entirety is a manner of holding title to real estate in Illinois. You may have often heard the term at a closing but be unfamiliar with the requirements and protections of this doctrine. Attached is an article that was published by the Illinois State Bar Association in the Real Property newsletter a number of years ago that gives an in-depth analysis of Tenancy by the Entirety and how Illinois courts have interpreted the doctrine, as well as the Illinois legislature's response to the court decisions.
In a nutshell, Tenancy by the Entirety can be used only for married couples and only for their principal residence. The doctrine is similar to Joint Tenancy in that if one person dies, title immediately vests in the surviving spouse (typically referred to as "right of survivorship"). However, Tenancy by the Entirety also protects each spouse from each other. For example, the husband is sued for some debts that wife had nothing to do with and a judgment is taken against the husband and a memorandum of judgment is recorded against the property. If the property is held as tenants by the entirety, in most cases the judgment creditor will be unable to force a sale of the residence to satisfy the judgment. The tenancy by the entirety protects the "innocent" spouse.
Please feel free to join in with any comments or questions about this post or the attached article.
Robert H. Rappe, Jr © 2006