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Trade Usage Initials May Prove Joint Tenancy
Description High court of Mississippi held that the initials "JTWROS" on a securities account, with nothing more, established the account as one of joint tenancy with right of survivorship, so the account passed to the surviving spouse, rather than the estate of the deceased.
Topic Wills, Estates, and Trusts
Key Words Joint Tenancy
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Six years before he died testate, Baker established a joint securities account with his wife. Besides the testimony of Baker's wife to that effect, the primary evidence was that the account was listed "JTWROS" for joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Baker's children from a prior marriage contended that the account was created as tenants in common, so that it should pass through the will, rather than all to the widow. The trial court held that "JTWROS" meant that Baker intended for there to be right of survivorship to his wife, rather than a tenancy in common. Baker's children appealed.
Decision Affirmed. "The use of initials in matters of law is not normally desirable. However, when certain initials, such as JTWROS, are used with such frequency as to give them a plain, unambiguous meaning in a given trade, we must accept and enforce them according to their commonly accepted meaning. As a result, we accept JTWROS to mean joint tenancy with rights of survivorship." The accounts pass to Baker's wife; they do not go to the estate.
Citation In the Matter of the Estate of Baker v. Baker, 1999 WL 628344 (Slip Copy, Sup. Ct., Miss.)

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