I was looking at this Supreme Court of Texas document approving revised will forms and was wondering if a bank account that I recently added my wife to as a cosigner needed to be listed as a "specific gift" for her as well.

The fact that she's a cosigner means that when I die she'll be able to have immediate access to the funds after I die without having to go through probate. That makes it seem like the account doesn't need to be mentioned in the will at all, but maybe it still does?

1 Answer 1


There is a distinction between a co-owner of an account and a co-signer for convenience. In all likelihood, you have made your spouse a co-owner of the account, but you need to be clear what has been done.

If someone is a co-owner of the account, then the account passes by operation of law at death to the surviving co-owner in a non-probate transfer and is not controlled by the language of the will, or of any intestacy statute if there is not a will.

A mere co-signer does not having any ownership rights in the account and is functionally a mere power of attorney holder over the account. In that case, the will governs the disposition of the account. If you want it to pass to a spouse, you need to say so, unless your spouse is your sole beneficiary under the will, in which case there is no need to single out a particular account.

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