Concurrent or common ownership

Will devising home to testator's four children and his widow that allowed her to "remain" in the home "for as long as she desires" gave her a tenancy in common interest with protection from removal by partition

In an older case that came to my attention, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that a will that gave a widow the right to "remain" in the home "for as long as she desires" did not create a life estate when her interest was shared with the decedent's four children. Hershman-Tcherepnin v. Tcherepnin, 891 N.E.2d 194 (Mass...

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Bankruptcy law preempts state tenancy by the entirety law

The Bankruptcy Code allows forced sale of property owned by a married couple as tenants by the entirety against the will of the non-debtor spouse. In re Green, 2018 WL 4944988 (Bankr. E.D. Mass. 2018) (interpreting 11 U.S.C. §363(h)).

Tenancy by the entirety interests can be sold to satisfy debts of one spouse

A bankruptcy court in Massachusetts has ruled that state tenancy by the entirety law is preempted by  the Bankruptcy Code, §363(h)–(j), interpreting federal law to authorize the forced sale of tenancy by the entirety property over the objections of the non-debtor spouse to satisfy the debts of the debtor spouse. Desmond v. Green, 2018 Bankr. LEXIS 3136 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2018).

Seventh Circuit holds that the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation

Extending a former precedent concerning employment discrimination, Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, 853 F.3d 339 (7th Cir. 2017), a three judge panel of the Seventh Circuit has held that discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Fair Housing Act. Wetzel v. Glen St. Andrew... Read more about Seventh Circuit holds that the Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation

Tree may be removed by owner of property where it first grew even if it grew to encroach on neighboring land and the neighboring owner does not want it removed

The Colorado Supreme Court has held that an owner may remove a tree on her own land even if it has grown over the borderline onto neighboring land even if the neighboring owner objects to removal of the tree. Love v. Klosky,2018 CO 20, 413 P.3d 1267 (Colo. 2018). In contrast, a border tree that was planted on the border itself becomes the...

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Permanent rights of refusal for tenancy in common interests owned by family members held void as unreasonable restraints on alienation

A Massachusetts court has held that permanent rights of refusal applying to tenancy-in-common interests were void as unreasonable restraints on alienation. DiSchino v. Delanson Circle Holding, 2018 Mass. Super. LEXIS 67 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2018).

The court noted that the state had a...

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While real property held as tenancy by the entirety cannot be conveyed absent consent of both spouses, funds held in a bank account can be withdrawn by either spouse and, upon withdrawal, cease to be entireties property

The Supreme Court of Tennessee overruled prior cases and adopted the Arkansas approach that allows spouses that own bank account as tenants by the entirety are free to withdraw funds unilaterally (without consent of their co-owner) and that moneys so withdraw become the individual property of the spouse that withdrew the funds. This contrasts with real property which neither spouse may convey without the consent of the other....

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Can an owner or inhabitant of real property give police the right to search property when a co-owner or coinhabitant objects?

The Appeals Court of Massachusetts held that the police could search a closed suitcase in a common closet of a bedroom when given permission to do so by the defendant's coinhabitant. Commonwealth v. Hernandez,93 Mass. App. Ct. 172, 2018 Mass. App. LEXIS 48 (Mass. App. Ct. 2018). This ruling was based on traditional...

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