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.
(235) Gifts causa mortis differ substantively from an ordinary gift, in that they comprise the one type of gift that is revocable.
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] 7.16.
(236.) 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.
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.