Definition of donatio mortis causa in English:

donatio mortis causa

noundonationes mortis causa

  • 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’.


donatio mortis causa

/dəˌneɪʃɪəʊ ˌmɔːtɪs ˈkɔːzə/