April 23, 2024
Tenants by Entireties Ownership of Automobiles Not Possible

by Denis Kleinfeld

This article looks into the rules and constraints on owning cars together in Florida under the tenants by entireties concept. Recently, the Fifth District Court of Appeal gave a verdict. It said that couples can’t own a car as tenants by entireties under Florida law.

Florida law (F.S. 319.22) states that if a car is titled using the word “or”, it must be owned together, not through the tenants by entireties setup. This setup usually lets married couples jointly own things where each has full ownership. However, this doesn’t work for cars in Florida.

This decision greatly impacts Florida couples who wanted joint car ownership for asset protection. It makes it harder for them to use the tenants by entireties ownership style. They might have to look into other ways of owning a car together.

Key Takeaways:

  • Tenants by entireties ownership is not allowed for cars in Florida, according to a recent legal decision.
  • Florida law F.S. 319.22 dictates that cars must be titled jointly when the word “or” is used.
  • There are few ways for married couples to co-own a car in Florida.
  • It’s vital to explore different ownership and estate planning tactics to safeguard assets.
  • Knowing the distinction between tenants by entireties and joint tenancy helps in choosing the best ownership methods.

Understanding Tenants by Entireties Ownership

Tenants by entireties ownership lets a married couple own property where both own all of it. This way, each spouse has full ownership instead of just 50%. It gives each spouse the same rights and helps protect the property from debts. Yet, Florida’s courts say it doesn’t work the same for cars.

For this ownership, both husband and wife really own the whole property together. They think of it as joint property, not separate. It’s a deal that some states, like Florida, allow only for couples.

Having property this way can help protect it from the debts of just one spouse. In places recognizing this, any debts from one spouse alone may not touch the property. This keeps important things, like homes and savings, safe from some creditors.

But, remember, not all debts get blocked. Any debts made together or linked to the property might still need to be paid off this way. And how much protection you get can change by state laws.

Key Features of Tenants by Entireties Ownership:

  1. Equal Ownership: Each spouse has an equal ownership interest in the property, typically 100%.
  2. Protection Against Creditors: Property held this way might not be used to pay off one spouse’s debts.
  3. Survivorship: The surviving spouse becomes the only owner if one dies.
Advantages of Tenants by Entireties Ownership Disadvantages of Tenants by Entireties Ownership
  • Asset protection from individual debts of one spouse
  • Avoidance of probate process
  • Simplified transfer of ownership upon death
  • Restrictions on ownership of certain assets, such as cars in Florida
  • Possible loss of protection if a spouse dies
  • Harder to plan who inherits besides the surviving spouse

While good for protecting assets, there are limits to this ownership. For example, the recent Florida ruling affects car ownership. Getting advice from a lawyer who knows these laws can guide couples well. They can help pick the best way to own their assets together.

The Xayavong Case and Its Impact

The Xayavong case and its court decision marked a significant change. The Fifth District Court of Appeal firmly stated that in Florida, owning cars as tenants by entireties is not allowed. They based this on Florida statute F.S. 319.22, showing that a common way of owning property doesn’t apply to cars.

This ruling is big news for married couples in Florida. They might now have to rethink how they own their cars if they want the full legal protection this way of ownership usually offers.

The Effect of the Beal Bank Decision

The Beal Bank decision by the Florida Supreme Court has changed the rules for tenancy by entireties ownership. It explained that when one spouse dies, the other gets the property automatically. Yet, a case called Xayavong showed that this rule doesn’t apply to cars in Florida. So, you can’t own a car this way under Florida law.

This Beal Bank ruling is big for married folks in Florida who want to own things together. It’s clear that for many things, tenancy by entireties is still a good choice. But, the Xayavong case reminds us that it doesn’t work for cars. So, married couples need to know these limits.

Beal Bank Decision

The Beal Bank decision sheds light on what it takes to own things together as a couple in Florida. It’s especially key for cars. With the Xayavong case, couples can now make smarter choices on how to own their stuff.

Key Points:

  • The Beal Bank decision clarified the requirements for tenancy by entireties ownership in Florida.
  • Survivorship of title is a necessary element of tenancy by entireties.
  • Automobile ownership is excluded from tenancy by entireties due to the absence of survivorship rights, as outlined in Florida statute F.S. 319.22.
  • Owning a car as tenants by entireties is not possible in Florida.
Impact of the Beal Bank Decision Explanation
Clarification of Requirements The Beal Bank decision provided clarity on the necessary elements of tenancy by entireties ownership in Florida.
Survivorship of Title The decision affirmed that survivorship of title is a crucial aspect of tenancy by entireties, ensuring seamless transfer of ownership to the surviving spouse.
Limits on Automobile Ownership The ruling in the Xayavong case highlighted the absence of survivorship rights in automobile ownership, making it incompatible with tenancy by entireties.

Limited Options for Car Ownership in Florida

The Xayavong case and the Beal Bank decision changed car ownership in Florida. Now, co-owners have to pick from using “and” or “or” on their car title. But, this leads to joint tenancy, not tenants by entireties ownership.

The Fifth District Court of Appeal made this decision. They say using “or” on a car title means joint tenancy. So, spouses can’t have tenants by entireties ownership.

This change impacts how married couples in Florida own cars. Earlier, they could fully own a car together and protect it from debts. But now, those rules don’t apply to cars.

Married couples in Florida now have fewer car ownership options. It’s important to know the difference between owning a car with joint tenancy or tenants by entireties.

Joint Tenancy vs. Tenants by Entireties Ownership

Understanding joint tenancy and tenants by entireties is key. It shows why the new Florida rules matter.

Joint tenancy: Under joint tenancy, co-owners each own half of the car. If one dies, the other automatically owns it all.

Tenants by entireties: This type is just for married couples. They’re seen as owning the car together as one whole. It keeps the car safe from debts and skipping probate after a death.

Though tenants by entireties still works for some assets in Florida, cars are now limited. This means less protection for married couples’ cars.

The Ramifications for Car Ownership

The new car ownership rules in Florida have several effects:

  1. Asset protection: Cars under tenants by entireties aren’t as shielded as other stuff. This lessens the overall safety for married couples’ cars.
  2. Joint ownership: Co-owners need to think about what it means to own the car together. This includes sharing decisions and what happens if they split up or one passes away.
  3. Estate planning: Car restrictions also change how couples plan their estates. They need new ways to ensure their stuff goes where it should and keeps the surviving spouse safe.

Given the situation, married couples in Florida need to speak with legal pros. They should look for the best way to own a car that meets their particular needs.

The Impact on Car Owners

The Xayavong case and Beal Bank’s ruling have slimmed car ownership choices in Florida. The table below shows what works for cars:

Tenancy Option Ownership Type
Joint Tenancy Joint ownership with rights for the one who lives longer
Tenants by Entireties Not an option for cars

In Summary

The Xayavong case and Beal Bank’s stance has narrowed car ownership options in Florida. Married couples wanting to own a car differently should look into other solutions. By learning about these changes and the possible ways to own a car, couples can choose what’s best for them.

Protecting Assets from Creditors

Tenancy by entireties ownership is crucial for married couples wanting to shield their assets from creditors. It gives security in many places. Here, creditors often can’t hold properties to pay off one spouse’s debt.

But, in Florida, rules have changed for owning cars. This change reduces the ways married couples can protect their assets.

There are still many ways couples can try to keep their assets safe from creditors.

“By looking into different ownership types and using smart estate planning, couples can keep their assets safe. This is true even with the change in Florida.”

Alternative Forms of Ownership

Married couples facing challenges with tenancy by entireties for cars can look at other options. These options could still offer good asset protection. Some options include:

  • Tenancy in common: With this, each spouse has their own part of the property. If there’s a debt, only the part of the spouse who owes the debt is at risk.
  • Joint tenancy with full right of survivorship: Here, the spouse that lives longer gets the other’s share. This keeps the property away from debts.
  • More estate planning strategies: Couples should talk to experts in estate planning. They can come up with plans that meet their needs and protect their assets.

Thinking about these alternative ways to own things can help married couples. It allows them to protect what’s theirs from creditors, even in places with new restrictions on ownership.

Alternative Forms of Ownership

In Florida, married couples face limits on shared car ownership. They might tackle this issue by looking into different ownership types. Luckily, there are many choices to keep their assets safe.

Tenancy in Common

Tenancy in common lets several people, like spouses, own a property together. Each owner holds a clearly defined part of the property. They can sell, transfer, or get a mortgage on their part without needing others’ approval. This setup is great for those wanting individual control over their share.

Joint Tenancy with Full Right of Survivorship

Another option to explore is joint tenancy with full right of survivorship. Here, all owners, usually a married couple, own an equal part. If one partner dies, the other automatically gets the deceased’s share. It’s a simple way to transfer property without probate.

In Florida, married couples need to find different ways to own cars because of these limits.

Estate Planning Strategies

For asset protection, couples can dive into estate planning strategies. They might set up trusts, form family limited partnerships, or use other legal tools. A chat with a skilled estate planning attorney is key. They can guide couples to the best approach for their situation.

Considering such forms of ownership is crucial for Florida’s car ownership rules. Researching and professional advice can help with legal compliance. Also, it ensures the most possible keeping of one’s assets safe.

Tenancy by Entireties vs. Joint Tenancy

Tenancy by entireties and joint tenancy are both unique ways to own property. Tenancy by entireties is only for married couples. It gives the same rights to each spouse. They both own the property together. If one wants to sell or pass on their part, they both must agree.

Joint tenancy is for any group of owners, whether they are married or not. All owners have an equal part of the property. If one owner dies, the others automatically get their share. This is different from tenancy by entireties, which is only for married partners.

The major difference is whether owners are married and survivorship rights. In tenancy by entireties, only spouses can own together. Also, if one spouse dies, the other gets everything. This is called survivorship rights. In joint tenancy, all owners have a say in the property. But, if one dies, the others fully own it.

It’s important to remember: while there are some similarities, tenancy by entireties and joint tenancy are legally different. For example, in Florida, a recent court ruling says cars can’t be owned this way by married couples. Yet, they can own other properties, like houses and lands, this way.

It’s key for people, both alone and with a partner, to know these differences. This is especially true for those looking into how to best protect their assets, plan their wills, and understand their rights if one owner passes.

We can imagine these two types of ownership in the following way:

Tenancy by Entireties Joint Tenancy
Exclusive to married couples Can be used by multiple individuals
Equal rights for each spouse Equal interests for all owners
Undivided interest in the property Undivided interest in the property
Survivorship rights Survivorship rights

Tenancy by Entireties vs. Joint Tenancy

Pros and Cons of Tenancy by Entireties Ownership

Tenancy by entireties ownership has its good sides and bad sides. It’s good for married couples to know both. This knowledge can help them choose the best way to own property together.


  • It lets married couples avoid probate. If one spouse dies, the other instantly owns everything. This makes passing on property quicker and cheaper.
  • In some places, it also shields the home from debt collectors. If one partner owes money, the home is still off-limits to their creditors. This protects the couple’s shared property.


  • However, if one spouse dies, the protection might change. The home could then become at risk to pay off debts. This could harm the surviving spouse’s finances.
  • Also, it’s tough to leave the home to someone other than the surviving spouse. With this ownership, the living spouse usually ends up the sole owner. It might not allow for different inheritance plans.
Advantages of Tenancy by Entireties Ownership Disadvantages of Tenancy by Entireties Ownership
Avoidance of probate court proceedings Change in creditor protection after the death of a spouse
Protection against creditors in certain states Limited estate planning options for directing ownership to beneficiaries other than the surviving spouse

Choosing this ownership type is a big decision for couples. They should think about their own needs and plans. Getting advice from a lawyer or financial expert can help them choose wisely.

How to Set Up Tenancy by Entireties Ownership

If you want to set up tenancy by entireties, here’s how you do it:

  1. Get married: This type of ownership is for married couples. So, make sure you’re legally married.
  2. Obtain a copy of the current title of the property: You need the current property title to begin. It shows who owns the property now.
  3. Prepare a quitclaim deed using the tenancy by entireties language: A quitclaim deed changes property ownership from one person to two people using the special language required.
  4. Have the documents notarized: Notarization makes the quitclaim deed legal. A notary public will witness you signing and put a seal on it.
  5. File the quitclaim deed with the local county recorder’s office: Next, take the notarized deed to the county recorder’s office. This is where the property is. They will officially change the owner and recognize tenancy by entireties.

This is how you make a property tenancy by entireties. Make sure to talk to a legal expert. They can help you follow local laws and any special rules for your case.


It’s not allowed to own a car as tenants by entireties in Florida. This was made clear by the Xayavong case and the Beal Bank decision. According to Florida Statute F.S. 319.22, vehicles with the word “or” in the title can only be jointly owned. This limits married couples’ ownership choices in the state.

This decision impacts married couples wanting to safeguard their assets. They will find it key to learn about ownership limits and look into other ways to meet their protection goals. Alternative ownership or estate planning methods can be considered.

Tenants by entireties offers benefits like avoiding probate and protecting against creditors in some places. But, in Florida, you can’t use it to own a car. This makes it critical for couples to get advice from legal experts. They should look into different ways to protect assets they own together.


Is it possible to own a car as tenants by entireties in Florida?

No, the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Florida ruled it’s not allowed. They said a married couple can’t own a car this way, because Florida law doesn’t see cars as a special kind of shared ownership. This ruling was based on Florida statute F.S. 319.22.

What is tenants by entireties ownership?

It lets married couples name property like cars so each owns the whole thing, rather than just part. This way gives them equal ownership. It’s often done to protect against people they owe money to.

What was the Xayavong case?

The Fifth District Court of Appeal in Florida had to decide if a married couple could have a car in this special ownership way. They found it can’t be done, pointing to Florida law in F.S. 319.22.

What was the impact of the Xayavong case?

It made a big rule for Florida. After this case, married couples couldn’t use tenants by entireties for their cars.

What was the Beal Bank decision?

It was from the Florida Supreme Court and talked about how this kind of ownership works. The Xayavong case showed that it doesn’t fit for cars, because cars need something the law doesn’t allow.

How does the Beal Bank decision affect the ownership of cars?

It said a key part of this kind of ownership is missing for cars. So, cars can’t be owned that way in Florida, because of the law in F.S. 319.22.

What are the options for car ownership in Florida?

Florida’s rules say you can share a car with a spouse in two ways. But, both ways are not the special kind of ownership we’ve been talking about.

How can assets be protected from creditors without tenants by entireties ownership?

Since owning cars this special way isn’t allowed, married couples have to get creative. Alternatives like joint tenancy or smart estate planning can still help protect what’s theirs.

What is the difference between tenancy by entireties and joint tenancy?

Tenants by entireties is just for married couples. It gives them equal shares and protects their stuff better. But, anyone, even friends or family, can use joint tenancy. The big difference is who can use it and how the property gets passed if one owner dies.

What are the pros and cons of tenancy by entireties ownership?

It’s good because you avoid certain legal issues and shield property from some debts. Yet, it has drawbacks. These include less control on who gets the property next if one spouse dies.

How can I set up tenancy by entireties ownership?

First, get married. Then, use a special form of ownership. Make a legal paper called a quitclaim deed the right way. Finally, get it checked and filed by the folks in your county office.