Generally, Florida’s creditor exemptions are expressed in Chapter 222 of the Florida Statutes. The Chapter’s sections list Florida’s premier asset protection exemptions including the exemptions afforded wages, retirement funds and annuities. Sometimes the legislature makes important asset protection changes in various other parts of the Statutes.
Prior to 2011, when the estate tax exemption was much lower, most estate planning attorneys preferred to separate spouses’ assets in separate living trusts to make sure each spouse received their full estate tax exemption. Joint trusts which are not properly drafted or maintained can forfeit one or the other spouse’s exemption.
One of my Florida clients has a joint account with his spouse at an internet bank. The bank has no branches other than its main office in Utah. The husband is facing personal liability from a failed commercial real estate venture. The client asks if the bank account is exempt as a tenants by entireties…
Tenancy by entireties is an effective, simple, and economical asset protection tool for a married Florida debtor where only one of the married spouses has creditor issues. The primary problem with T by E protection is that its effectiveness last only so long as the debtor is married to the same spouse. In the event…
Often, a high-risk professional will title all assets in the name of their non-professional spouse as an asset protection plan. The professional thinks they are a lawsuit target, but in the event they are sued, they could tell their adversary that they “have nothing in my name.” It’s a simple plan, but it sometimes backfires…
Husband and wife open a joint bank account at a Florida bank, and on the signature card, they pencil in the words “tenants by entireties” to express their intent that the account be an exempt entireties account. Subsequently, the deposit in the account money from another joint bank account and a joint income tax refund.
Questions from other attorneys are usually the most interesting; here’s an example. A Florida attorney called me about one of his clients who was concerned about a bank garnishment.
Tenancy by entireties ownership requires certain characteristics. One requirement is that husband and wife must acquire their interest in the entireties asset simultaneously.
Bank accounts owned jointly by a husband and wife are exempt from the individual creditors of either spouse as tenants by entireties property.
A reader posed an interesting question about tenants by entireties protection. The reader, a man, is a U.S. citizen married to a non-citizen wife. The reader stated that he currently resided in a foreign country with his new wife.