Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Per Tout Et Non My Definition:

French: as to the whole and not just a part.

Related Terms: Tenancy By The Entireties, Joint Tenancy

A quaint ancient law French legal maxim that continues to form part of the law in some jurisdictions such as Florida and Pennsylvania. It is now mostly referred to as tenancy by the entireties.

For example, In re Mathews, Justice Jerry Funk of the United States Bankruptcy Court (Jacksonville) wrote:

"Under Florida law, if a married couple holds property as a tenancy by the entireties, each spouse is said to hold it per tout, meaning that each spouse holds the whole or the entirety, and not a share, moiety, or divisible part. Thus, property held by husband and wife as tenants by the entireties belongs to neither spouse individually, but each spouse is seized of the whole."

In Pennsylvania, Justice Bernard Markovitz referred to the whole maxim as follows, in Re Barber:

"A tenancy by the entirety is a type of joint tenancy which is modified by the common-law fiction that husband and wife are but a single person. Husband and wife are treated as though they were a corporate entity. Each spouse is seised per tout et non my — i.e., of the whole or entirety as opposed to a share, moiety, or divisible part. This type of ownership is reserved exclusively for married couples."


  • In re Barber, 339 BR 587 (2005)
  • In re Mathews, 360 BR 732 (2007)

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