Hare v. Longstreet, 531 S.W.3d 922 (Tex. App.—Tyler 2017, no pet.).

Other Estate Planning Matters

Joint Accounts


The signature card contained an “X” in a box labeled “MULTIPLE-PARTY ACCOUNT WITH RIGHT OF SURVIVORSHIP” and both the deceased and surviving joint parties initialed on the blank next the box. Both the trial and appellate courts held that this indication was insufficient to create survivorship rights in the surviving party.


The Tyler Court of Appeals explained that the signature card lacked language substantially similar to the language required by Estates Code § 113.151(b) (“On the death of one party to a joint account, all sums in the account the date of the death vest in and belong to the surviving party as his or her separate property and estate.”). Merely stating that the account has the right of survivorship is insufficient to make it so.


Moral:  I think that most people would assume that checking the box next to a phrase that said “with right of survivorship” would be sufficient to create survivorship rights. Thus, estate attorneys must have “eyes-on” all signature cards and account contracts to ascertain whether the accounts of both their living and deceased clients actually have the survivorship feature.