Causa Mortis Law and Legal Definition

Latin term meaning “in contemplation of approaching death.” A gift causa mortis is a gift given by a party who feels certain that death is imminent. The phrase is sometimes used in reference to a deathbed gift since the gift is giving in expectation of approaching death. A gift causa mortis is effective only if it is made in contemplation of death due to a known condition and the donor actually dies as a result of that condition. If the donor recovers from the particular ailment or event, he can revoke the gift. A gift causa mortis is taxed under federal estate tax law in the same way as a gift bequeathed by a will.