Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 55.1. Property and Conveyances
Chapter 1. Creation and Limitation of Estates
2/25/2024

Article 3. Joint Ownership of Real or Personal Property.

§ 55.1-134. Survivorship between joint tenants abolished.

A. When any joint tenant dies, before or after the vesting of the estate, whether the estate is real or personal, or whether partition could have been compelled or not, his part shall descend to his heirs, pass by devise, or go to his personal representative, subject to debts or distribution, as if he had been a tenant in common.

B. This section shall not apply to any estate that joint tenants have as fiduciaries or to any real or personal property transferred to persons in their own right when it manifestly appears from the tenor of the instrument transferring such property or memorializing the existence of a chose in action that it was intended the part of the one dying should then belong to the others. This section does not affect the mode of proceeding on any joint judgment or order in favor of or on any contract with two or more one of whom dies.

Code 1919, §§ 5159, 5160; Code 1950, §§ 55-20, 55-21; 1990, c. 831; 1999, c. 196; 2001, c. 718; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-135. Joint ownership in real and personal property.

Any persons may own real or personal property as joint tenants with or without a right of survivorship. When any person causes any real or personal property, or any written memorial of a chose in action, to be titled, registered, or endorsed in the name of two or more persons "jointly," as "joint tenants," in a "joint tenancy," or other similar language, such persons shall own the property in a joint tenancy without survivorship as provided in § 55.1-134. If, in addition, the expression "with survivorship," or any equivalent language, is employed in such titling, registering, or endorsing, it shall be presumed that such persons are intended to own the property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship as at common law. This section is not applicable to multiple party accounts under Article 2 (§ 6.2-604 et seq.) of Chapter 6 of Title 6.2 or to any other matter specifically governed by another provision of the Code.

If any real or personal property is conveyed or devised to spouses, they shall take and hold such property by moieties in the same manner as if a distinct moiety had been given to each spouse by a separate conveyance, unless language as provided in this section or in § 55.1-136 is used that designates the tenancy as a joint tenancy or a tenancy by the entirety and all requirements for holding property by such tenancy are met.

Code 1919, § 5160; Code 1950, § 55-21; 1999, c. 196, § 55-20.1; 2000, c. 331; 2001, c. 718; 2019, c. 712.

§ 55.1-136. Tenants by the entirety in real and personal property; certain trusts.

A. Spouses may own real or personal property as tenants by the entirety for as long as they are married. Personal property may be owned as tenants by the entirety whether or not the personal property represents the proceeds of the sale of real property. An intent that the part of the one dying should belong to the other shall be manifest from a designation of the spouses as "tenants by the entireties" or "tenants by the entirety."

B. Except as otherwise provided by statute, no interest in real property held as tenants by the entirety shall be severed by written instrument unless the instrument is a deed signed by both spouses as grantors.

C. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of § 64.2-747, any property of spouses that is held by them as tenants by the entirety and conveyed to their joint revocable or irrevocable trusts, or to their separate revocable or irrevocable trusts, and any proceeds of the sale or disposition of such property, shall have the same immunity from the claims of their separate creditors as it would if it had remained a tenancy by the entirety, so long as (i) they remain married to each other, (ii) it continues to be held in the trust or trusts, and (iii) it continues to be their property, including where both spouses are current beneficiaries of one trust that holds the entire property or each spouse is a current beneficiary of a separate trust and the two separate trusts together hold the entire property, whether or not other persons are also current or future beneficiaries of the trust or trusts. The immunity from the claims of separate creditors under this subsection may be waived as to any specific creditor, including any separate creditor of either spouse, or any specifically described property, including any former tenancy by the entirety property conveyed into trust, by the trustee acting under the express provision of a trust instrument or with the written consent of both spouses.

2001, c. 718, § 55-20.2; 2006, c. 281; 2015, c. 424; 2017, c. 38; 2019, c. 712.