Meaning of donatio mortis causa in English:

donatio mortis causa

Pronunciation /dəˌneɪʃɪəʊ ˌmɔːtɪs ˈkɔːzə/

nounplural noun donationes mortis causa/dəˌneɪʃɪˈəʊniːz/

  • A gift of personal property made by someone who expects to die in the immediate future, taking full effect only after the donor dies.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’


Latin, literally ‘gift by reason of death’.