donatio mortis causa

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[Latin: a gift on account of death]

An immediate gift of real or personal property made by a donor who expects to die in the near future. The gift must be made to take complete effect only on the death of the donor and there must be delivery of the property or something amounting to delivery. The latter requirement has been held to be satisfied by a transfer of the means or part of the means of obtaining the property or a transfer of the indications of title to the property (e.g. title deeds). The donor must make the transfer with the intention of relinquishing ownership of the property but may withdraw from that intention at any time prior to death and thereby defeat the gift. If the donor does not die the gift will be revoked. In practice such gifts are extremely rare.

Subjects: Law.

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