New York recognizes tenancy by the entirety for real property conveyed to the spouses, unless there is documentation that another
form of ownership exists. In addition, after January 1, 1996, a disposition of shares
of stock of a cooperative apartment corporation allocated to an apartment together
with the proprietary lease to spouses creates a tenancy by the entirety unless there
is documentation of another form of ownership.
If the legal relationship between spouses is judicially altered through divorce, annulment,
or legal separation, the tenancy by the entirety converts to a tenancy in common.
Where, however, the spouses separate as a result of their own agreement without the
aid of a judicial decree, they continue to own the property as tenants by the entirety.
Tenancy by the entirety also ends with the death of one spouse with the survivor having
full rights in the entire property.
Property held as tenants by the entirety may only be sold with the consent of both
parties. Where individuals are joint tenants or tenants in common, assume the individual
has the right to sell the individual's own interest in the property in the absence
of other legal restrictions.
Although a spouse cannot sell a share of property held as tenants by the entirety,
the spouse is permitted to sell, mortgage or otherwise encumber rights in the property,
subject to the continuing rights of the other. If the spouse who interest in the property
predeceases the spouse whose interest in the property has been retained, the buyer
is left with no interest in the property at all. Conversely, if the spouse who retained
interest in the property dies first, then the buyer acquires full rights to the property
unencumbered by the living spouse's former interest, i.e., the buyer owns the property