gift causa mortis

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Gift Causa Mortis

A gift made upon the giver's death. A gift causa mortis contrasts with a gift inter vivos, which the giver bequeaths while still living. A large gift causa mortis may be subject to the gift tax.

gift causa mortis

A gift in contemplation of death. This was an important term at one time because the IRS required such gifts,made within 3 years of death,to be included in the gross estate for estate tax purposes. You will still encounter the word, but the legal significance is no longer important because such property is no longer included in the estate.

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Gifts causa mortis (in contemplation of death) are gifts given when the donor is in fear of impending death.
There is a paucity of cases concerning whether gifts causa mortis are included as part of the "estate" subject to the spouse's elective share.
235) Gifts causa mortis differ substantively from an ordinary gift, in that they comprise the one type of gift that is revocable.
Because they are revocable and take effect on the brink of death, gifts causa mortis are frequently compared to wills.
Possibly with these risks in mind, courts have limited the effectiveness of gifts causa mortis by subject matter and by type of delivery.
Long ago apprehending the situational ambiguity of gifts causa mortis, the Roman jurists guided their formalization more adroitly: Under the Code of Justinian, gifts causa mortis required multiple witnesses.
As already noted, wills functionally resemble gifts causa mortis, and that is especially true of deathbed wills.
Just as they have amalgamated the formalizing rules for gifts causa mortis with ordinary gifts, so have lawmakers in most states consolidated wills causa mortis (so to speak) with ordinary wills.
Courts have already amassed a substantial body of case law to elaborate the meaning of nearness to death in the context of gifts causa mortis, (338) mitigating if not foreclosing uncertainty, which lawmakers could incorporate by reference into any broader application of this variable.
Without reconfiguring the categories, each one would remain technically isolated, so that rulings on, say, the meaning of a "near death" transfer within the law of gifts causa mortis would fail to pertain to nuncupative wills.
Cases diverge over whether gifts causa mortis are automatically revoked if the donor survives the life-threatening hazard, or whether they remain revocable within a reasonable time thereafter.
zz (noting the traditional restrictions but allowing gifts causa mortis of personal property delivered by a writing); ATKINSON, supra note 198, [section] 45, at 201-04; BROWN, supra note 91, [section] 7.