When Your Bank Does Not Offer Tenants By Entireties Accounts

Florida law protecting tenants by entireties bank accounts from garnishment against one spouse is based mostly on the Florida Supreme Court decision in the Beal Bank case. Most attorneys, on the debtor and creditor sides, believe that case established the rule that marital joint accounts with rights of survivorship are presumed to be owned as tenants by entireties, and that a creditor on one spouse has the burden of proving that the spouses did not intend their joint account to be owned by the entireties. In the course of a bankruptcy case a Florida District Court issued a slightly different interpretation of the bank account presumption. The Court said that in the case of a bank that does not offer its customers the option of entireties accounts the debtors have the initial burden of showing their intent to own a marital account by the entireties. A married couple may still have an entireties account notwithstanding bank policy against such accounts provided the couple proves…

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