Donato Mortis Causa
June 24, 2015 10:53 am
In the recent case of King v. The Chiltern Dogs Rescue  EWCA Civ 581 the Court of Appeal confirmed the necessary ingredients of Donato Mortis Causa.
Donato Mortis Causa applies to a gift made in contemplation of death. It is not a lifetime gift, because it only operates on death and is not a testamentary gift, as it operates irrespective of a Will. The law in this area was widened by the case of Vallee v. Birchwood  EWHC 1449 [Ch]. However the King case stated that the Vallee case had been wrongly decided and re-stated the appropriate criteria. These can be summarised as follows:-
- The donor must be contemplating death in the near future for a specific reason;
- The gift must be conditional on that contemplated death; and until then may be revoked at will and will be revoked if a Donor does not die soon enough;
- The Donor must part with dominion over the subject matter of the gift, or the documents evidencing in title;
Strict proof of compliance with these three requirements was needed and the evidence of them must be unequivocal.
Despite the law being clarified, it is always safest to make a Will, rather than leave events to chance and legal mechanisms such as Donato Mortis Causa.
If you have a dispute regarding a Will or Gift, please contact the writer, Graham Mead (Partner), on 01473 343915. If you wish to make a Will to seek to ensure that your property is left as you would like, please contact Nicola Weldon (Partner) on 01473 343921.