One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounPlural donationes mortis causaLaw
A gift of personal property made by someone who expects to die in the immediate future, taking full effect only after the donor dies.
- ‘There is a significant difference between a gift mortis causa in civil law and donatio mortis causa in common law.’
- ‘The great argument on behalf of the plaintiff was that the facts shewed that there was only an imperfect gift inter vivos, and not a donatio mortis causa at all.’
- ‘It is claimed on behalf of the appellant that this constitutes a valid donatio mortis causa, which entitles him to the fund; and whether it be so, is the sole question for our determination.’
- ‘In my submission it was and it is the effect of any transaction inter vivos or any contractual arrangement that gives rise to a debtor/creditor relationship and a donatio mortis causa has that effect.’
- ‘This type of transaction was used, when deposit receipts and pass-books were common, to effect a donatio mortis causa (a gift to mature on the assignor's demise), and has on a number of occasions been upheld by the courts.’
Latin, literally ‘gift by reason of death’.
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