Dorsey v. Short

In Dorsey v. Short, 157 W.Va. 866, 205 S.E.2d 687 (1974), the plaintiff mother placed her daughter's name on the mother's account and the daughter withdrew all of the money and placed it in an account with her husband. The mother sued the daughter to recover the funds. The trial court granted summary judgment to the mother. The appellate court found the evidence of the donor's intent was disputed and remanded for trial. Id. at 692. The West Virginia Supreme Court noted the following analysis: The cases continue to hold that the party furnishing the funds for the account during his lifetime may show that he had no intention to make a gift, notwithstanding the form of the account. This is true in states which have statutes providing that the opening of the account in joint and survivorship form creates a joint tenancy and is also true in states that have a bank protection type statute. Not only may a party opening the account withdraw all the funds, but he may also terminate the interest to the co-depositor by merely instructing the bank to strike the latter's name from the account or to substitute another name. These acts are treated as tantamount to a withdrawal. If joint tenancies are in fact established by the opening of an account in joint form, so that the survivor is entitled to the proceeds, it should follow that the donee has an interest in the account during his lifetime. But it does not work this way. If the depositor claims during his lifetime that he did not intend to create the joint tenancy, notwithstanding the form of the account, the courts have found that no such tenancy was created and that the party opening the account and furnishing the funds prevailed over the non-contributing party. (Id. at 690-691.)