There have been many blog posts dealing with tenancy by entireties bank accounts. I have often explained that accounts opened by married couples as joint tenants with rights of survivorship are presumed to be owned tenants by entireties under Florida law. I advise clients to open accounts specifically titled as tenants by entireties so they don’t have to rely on the legal presumption that creditors can overcome and rebut under some circumstances. There is nothing to rebut or overcome if the account is titled as an entireties accounts.

Over the years I have found that some banks refuse to offer tenancy by entireties as an account ownership option. Depositors at those banks had to rely on the legal presumption applicable to joint survivorship accounts. Sun Trust was the first bank to refuse entireties titles. Bank of America and Wachovia has always offered the entireties choice. My wife and I had a BOA entireties accounts for many years.

Today, a client reported that none of the large banks offered he and his wife tenants by entireties as an account titled. Specifically, Bank of America and the other major banks all told him that their new policy is that entireties ownership is not an option. Previous depositors at these banks with accounts expressly titled as tenants by entireties are grandfathered. The client finally found a bank for his entireties account. It was CNL bank. CNL is a small, relatively new Florida bank with branches in and around Orlando and in southwest Florida. I have had dealings with this bank, and its employees are very customer friendly.

Let me know if you have experienced similar problems opening entireties accounts at the larger banking institutions.

Jon Alper

About the Author

I’m a nationally recognized attorney specializing in asset protection planning. I graduated with honors from the University of Florida Law School and have practiced law for almost 50 years.

I have been recognized as a legal expert by media outlets such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I have helped thousands of clients protect their assets from creditors.

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