A bank signature card is a document that lists the names of the people who are authorized to sign checks and other documents on behalf of the bank account holder. This document is also sometimes referred to as a “check-signing card” or an “authorization card.” The purpose of this document is to give the bank a record of the people who are authorized to act on behalf of the account holder. Under Texas probate law, a bank signature card does not create a survivorship agreement. A survivorship agreement is a contract between two people that states that, if one person dies, the other person will inherit their property. In order for a survivorship agreement to be valid, it must be in writing and signed by both parties.
What is a multi-party survivorship agreement?
A multi-party survivorship agreement, also known as a joint tenancy with right of survivorship, is an agreement between two or more people that establishes their ownership interests in property and provides for the distribution of that property upon the death of one of the owners. The agreement may be used to transfer ownership of real estate, personal property, or financial assets such as bank accounts, stocks, and bonds.
Under Texas law, a multi-party survivorship agreement must meet certain requirements in order to be valid. The agreement must be in writing and signed by all parties; it must state that the parties intend to create a survivorship interest in the property; and it must expressly provide for the right of survivorship. Additionally, all parties to the agreement must have an equal interest in the property and must take simultaneous possession of it.
If these requirements are met, then upon the death of one party to the agreement, the surviving party will automatically become the sole owner of the property. The deceased party’s interest in the property will pass outside of probate and will not be subject to any claims from creditors or heirs. For this reason, multi-party survivorship agreements can be a helpful tool for estate planning.
What is a bank signature card?
A bank signature card is a document that lists the authorized signatories for a bank account. The card is used to identify the individuals who are authorized to sign checks and make other transactions on behalf of the account holder. In some cases, the signature card may also be used to designate a successor account holder in the event of the death of the primary account holder.
Does a bank signature card create a survivorship agreement under Texas probate law?
Under Texas law, a bank signature card does not create a survivorship agreement. However, the card may be used to designate a person as the surviving account holder in the event of the death of the other account holder.
When two or more people own property jointly, they often want to ensure that the property will go to the survivor in the event of one owner’s death. In Texas, there are several ways to create survivorship agreements, but signing a bank signature card is not one of them.
A bank signature card is simply an agreement between an individual and a bank that gives the individual permission to withdraw money from an account. It does not designate who will become the account holder in the event of death.
Texas Case Law
Shaw v. Shaw, 835 S.W.2d 232 (Tex. App — Waco 1992, writ denied)
Facts and Procedural History
When J Shaw passed away, he left his daughter, Sandra Shaw, to be his independent executrix. Yeulalo Shaw was J’s widow and Sandra’s stepmother. After J and Yeulalo were married, he changed two of his bank accounts to be joint accounts with Yeulalo. When the two signed for new signature cards, they put “Joint with Survivorship” as “Type of Customer.” After J died, Yeulalo went to the bank, claimed “survivor” and changed the accounts to her name. Once Sandra found out, she brought suit so the court could declare that the funds in the account belong to the estate. She claimed that under the probate code signature cards do not count as “survivorship agreements.” Yeulalo filed a counterclaim stating that the accounts belong to her by virtue of her “survivorship.” Both parties moved for partial summary judgment. The court held that the signature cards were enough to constitute the accounts as joint accounts, therefore granting Yeulalo’s partial summary judgment and awarding attorneys fees.
Sandra appealed the court’s decision. She argued that Texas has replaced the different legal theories behind what constitutes a joint account with section 439 of the Texas Probate Code [now the Texas Estates Code]. The statute provides that the mere fact that an account is a joint account does not constitute a “survivorship agreement.” A survivorship agreement must be a written agreement signed by the parties that specifies its nature. She contends that signature cards do not qualify as a survivorship agreement” under this statute.
The court held that the language in the statute is unambiguous and should be followed by the plain meaning rule. The statute also gave examples as to what a “survivorship agreement” would look like. Although the language does not have to be followed exactly, it must be followed substantially. Therefore, the signature cards do not meet the language requirement of the statute and Sandra is awarded attorney’s fees.
Does a signature card from a bank that is a “joint with survivorship” account constitute a “survivorship agreement”?
No. A “survivorship agreement” must be a written document that is signed by both parties and states the nature of the agreement.
Shaw v. Shaw shows that a signature card from a bank that is a “joint with survivorship” account does not constitute a “survivorship” agreement.
While a bank signature card does not explicitly create a survivorship agreement, it can be used as evidence of such an agreement if both parties have signed it. If you are considering using a bank signature card to create a survivorship agreement, you should consult with an experienced probate attorney to ensure that the agreement will be legally binding under Texas law.
Do you need an Experienced Probate Attorney to help?
If you are facing the loss of a loved one, you may be wondering if you need to hire a probate attorney. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the deceased person’s estate and whether there is any disagreement among the heirs about how the estate should be divided.
If the deceased person left behind a large estate, or if there is any dispute among the heirs about how the estate should be divided, then it is generally advisable to hire a probate attorney. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that the estate is distributed according to the deceased person’s wishes.
Even if the deceased person’s estate is not particularly large or complex, you may still want to hire a probate attorney if you are unsure about how to proceed with the probate process. An experienced attorney can provide guidance and advice throughout the process, and can help you avoid making costly mistakes.
If you are considering hiring a probate attorney, be sure to choose someone who has experience handling cases in your jurisdiction. Not all attorneys are familiar with Texas probate law, so it is important to find someone who specializes in this area of law. You can ask friends or family members for recommendations, or search online for attorneys who specialize in Texas probate law.