United States v. Craft, 122 S. Ct. 1414 (April 17, 2002), is a blunt reminder that the time has long since past when the tenancy by the entirety was the perfect bet for couples eager to protect their homes from the taxman.

In what was widely reported to be the year’s legal bombshell, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Craft that the Internal Revenue Service’s statutory lien against a husband attached to his interest in the home he owned with his wife as tenants by the entirety. Newspapers conjectured that this decision would allow the IRS to foreclose on the countless homes clouded by tax liens against an owner-spouse, which once were thought to be beyond the taxman’s reach.