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Tenants by Entireties Accounts in Georgia

Chamblee, GA |

Can a Georgia couple protect their assets from the judgement and/or creditor claims from just one of the spouses by setting up tenant by the entireties accounts in other states? Can a judgement and/or creditor claim in the state of Georgia attach itself to a Tenants by Entireties bank or brokerage account in another state? If not, which states are the best for tenants by entireties accounts?

Attorney Answers 1


This answer is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice regarding your situation, or to create any attorney-client relationship.

If the couple has their primary residence in Georgia, and not in another state, it seems unlikely that they could avoid either spouse's individual creditors by setting up accounts in other states as tenants by the entirety. The issue would be which state's law was allowed to apply, and for most legal purposes of which I am aware, bank or brokerage accounts are personal property controlled by the law of the person's primary residence rather than by the state where the account is theoretically located. Real estate owned in a tenants by the entirety state might be different.

Another issue raised by your question is timing: if the couple already knows that one spouse is likely to be the subject of a lien or judgment, or that has already happened, it becomes much more likely that the transfer of funds to a tenants by the entirety account would be considered a fraudulent transfer which the creditor could force the couple to undo, at least in the event of a bankruptcy filing. The closer in time a transfer and a creditor problem occur, the more potentially fraudulent the transfer tends to look.

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