When it comes to giving gifts, we usually think of happy occasions like birthdays and Christmas. But what about when someone is nearing the end of their life? In Texas, there is a provision for what’s known as a Causa Mortis gift. This allows a person to give away property or possessions that they own at the time of their death, as long as the gift is given in anticipation of death and not after the fact. But who can give such a gift? Can it be done by anyone, or does it have to be someone specific? Let’s take a look at the law surrounding Causa Mortis gifts in Texas and find out.
What is a gift causa mortis?
A gift causa mortis is a property interest that is transferred in contemplation of death. The transfer must be made with the intention of taking effect upon the death of the transferor, and it must be made in anticipation of the imminent death of the transferor. If these elements are met, then the gift causa mortis will be valid under Texas law.
When a transferor makes a gift causa mortis, they are essentially giving away their interest in property so that it will not pass to their heirs upon their death. Instead, the property will go to whomever the transferor has designated as the recipient of the gift. This can be an extremely useful tool for those who want to ensure that their property goes to a specific person or persons, rather than being subject to the laws of intestate succession.
It should be noted, however, that a gift causa mortis must be made in contemplation of death – meaning that the transferor must believe that their death is imminent at the time of making the gift. If it can be shown that the transferor did not believe they were going to die imminently, then the gift causa mortis may be invalidated. Additionally, if the transferor dies before making the gift (for example, if they are killed in an accident), then the gift causa mortis will also be invalidated.
Who can give a gift causa mortis?
A gift causa mortis is a gift made by a person in anticipation of their death. The gift is only valid if the person dies before they are able to revoke it. In Texas, any adult who is of sound mind and not under duress can give a gift causa mortis.
What are the requirements for giving a gift causa mortis?
In order to give a gift causa mortis in Texas, the following requirements must be met:
1. The donor must be competent at the time of making the gift. This means that they must be of sound mind and able to understand what they are doing.
2. The gift must be made with the intention of taking effect upon the donor’s death. This can be shown by the donor making a statement to that effect or by other evidence that demonstrates their intent.
3. The gift must actually be received by the donee before the donor’s death. This can be accomplished through delivery of the property to the donee or by transferring legal ownership of the property to them.
4. The donee must accept the gift willingly and without coercion from anyone.
5. The value of the gift cannot exceed $10,000 in total.
If all of these requirements are met, then a gift causa mortis is considered valid in Texas. If any one of these requirements is not met, then the gift may be invalidated and may not take effect upon the donor’s death as intended.
What property can be given as a gift causa mortis in Texas?
A gift causa mortis is a gift made by a person who believes they are about to die. In Texas, this type of gift must be made in writing and signed by the donor in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses cannot be related to the donor or the recipient, and they must sign the document attesting to the donor’s true intentions. The gifted property must also be described in detail. A gift causa mortis can only be given for personal property, not real estate.
How is a gift causa mortis legally revocable or revoked in Texas?
A gift causa mortis is a gift that is given in anticipation of death. In Texas, a gift causa mortis is revocable if the person who gave the gift dies before the recipient. If the recipient of the gift dies before the donor, then the gift is void.
What happens if someone dies before the gift causa mortis is delivered in Texas?
If someone dies before the gift causa mortis is delivered in Texas, the gift is void and cannot be transferred to the intended recipient. The property must be returned to the estate of the deceased person.
Case Law Example
State v. Abernathy, 431 S.W.2d 359 (Tex. Civ. App. — Amarillo 1968)
Gift causa mortis (donatio causa mortis):
A gift made in contemplation of death.
Gift inter vivos:
The everyday exchange of a gift, where there is no high chance of mortality.
Facts and Procedural History
When John Dukes passed away he left behind a very small estate. He left no will and a small house on Marjorie Wallace’s business premises. He told many people that he wanted his estate to be left to his best friend, F.B. Abernathy. A few years before Dukes’ passing, he and Abernathy met with an undertaker to make prearrangement for his funeral. Dukes wanted Abernathy to carry out his plans, which he did.
Three years before Dukes’ passed away he gave Wallace an envelope containing U.S. Government Series E Bonds worth $11,300 to give to Abernathy in case anything happened to him. He reminded her of what to do with it many times. Once Dukes became extremely ill, Wallace asked if she should give the envelope to Abernathy. He said yes but insisted she come to the hospital with him first. She did and he passed two days later.
The trial court found that Dukes intended to give Abernathy the bonds before he passed away and that it was a gift causa Morris. The State argued that it was not a gift but an invalid testamentary disposition. The stated that in order to constitute a gift either causa mortis or inter vivos, the owner must make a delivery of possession and intend for the donor to take immediate possession. The court found that Dukes intended to give the bonds to Abernathy before his death and truly believed he would return home after his stay at the hospital. It held that the delivery of the gift through Wallace was through his instructions and that he had the intention to give Abernathy his property.
Can a delivery of a gift causa mortis be made through someone else?
Yes. The delivery of a gift causa mortis can be made through someone else as long as it is through the directions of the giver of the gift.
State v. Abernathy shows that the delivery of a gift causa mortis can be made through someone else.
Do you need an Experienced Probate Attorney to help?
When a loved one dies, it can be a difficult and emotionally charged time. If the deceased had any assets, such as a home or investments, these must go through probate before they can be transferred to the beneficiaries. Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after they die.
If you are named as an executor in a will, or if you are the next of kin, you may be responsible for handling the probate process. This can be a complicated and time-consuming task, especially if there is disagreement among the beneficiaries about how the assets should be distributed. An experienced probate attorney can help you navigate the probate process, ensuring that it is done correctly and efficiently.
What are the three requirements of a completed gift?
In order for a gift to be valid, it must meet the following three requirements:
1. The gift must be made voluntarily – the donor must not be under any duress or coercion when making the gift.
2. The gift must be complete – the donor must relinquish all ownership and control over the gifted property.
3. The gift must be accepted by the donee – the recipient must agree to receive and take ownership of the gifted property.
Can there be donatio mortis causa if the donor intends to make a gift by will?
Yes, there can be donatio mortis causa if the donor intends to make a gift by will. This type of gift is often used to donate organs or tissues for transplantation. In order for the gift to be valid, the donor must have made the decision to donate while they were still alive and competent. The gift must also be made in writing and signed by the donor.
What is the difference between a gift inter vivos and a gift causa mortis?
A gift inter vivos is a gift that is given by one living person to another. A gift causa mortis is a gift that is given by someone who is about to die, or in anticipation of their death.
What makes a gift causa mortis valid?
In order for a gift causa mortis to be valid in Texas, the following requirements must be met:
1. The gift must be made in contemplation of death.
2. The gift must be made with the intention that it take effect only upon the donor’s death.
3. The gift must be delivered to the donee while the donor is still alive.
4. The donor must die within a reasonable time after making the gift.
5. The donee must accept the gift after the donor’s death.
When someone gives you something then wants to take it back?
If someone gives you a gift and then changes their mind, they may not be able to take it back. In Texas, there is a legal doctrine called causa mortis which allows a person to give a gift in anticipation of their death. Once the gift is given, the donor cannot change their mind and take the gift back. This doctrine can be used to protect gifts made by people who are terminally ill or facing death in the near future. If you have been given a gift that you now fear may be taken back, you should speak to an experienced attorney to discuss your legal options.