Contemplation of Death

Contemplation of Death

The apprehension of an individual that his or her life will be ended in the immediate future by a particular illness the person is suffering from or by an imminent known danger which the person faces.

The phrase in contemplation of death applies to a gift of property made by its owner who expects to die shortly, the gift being motivated solely by the thought of his or her demise. Such transfers are considered akin to testamentary dispositions since they are ineffective unless the owner dies but differ in that the owner must die within a reasonable time from the making of the gift.

The words contemplation of death are synonymous with the Latin phrase causa mortis.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

contemplation of death

n. the anticipation of death in a relatively short time due to age, illness, injury or great danger, which causes a person to make a gift, transfer property or take some other dramatic action. (Lawyers who like Latin call this "causa mortis.") It can be important since such a gift or transfer can be subject to federal estate taxes. (See: Unified Estate and Gift Tax)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Certainly, the contemplation of death, as the wages of sin, and passage to another world, is holy and religious; but the fear of it, as a tribute due unto nature, is weak.
One step advanced beyond this, Jerry's uttermost, the folk of Somo, from the contemplation of death, had achieved concepts of the spirits of the dead still living in immaterial and supersensuous realms.
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.
Chiltern Dog Rescue the donor's contemplation of death was not based on anything she said or did other than the words "this will be yours when I go", whilst looking at the donee.
The New Jersey inheritance tax applies not only to testamentary dispositions but also transfers made in contemplation of death. A transfer by deed, grant, bargain, sale, or gift made more than three years before the decedent's death is not considered to be in contemplation of death; however, any such transfer made within three years of death is considered to be made in contemplation of death and is taxed accordingly, unless the contrary can be proven (see NJSA sections 53:34-1 and 18:26-5.7; this issue will be discussed in greater detail in a later section).
"Doing this right makes the evidence 'in contemplation of death' which is an exception to the hearsay rule ...
While not unaffected by international influences, such as that of the austere and metaphorically charged objects of Arte Povera, Castellano's work always bears the weight of his own ambivalent cultural heritage: a gloomy worldview, shaped by the oppressive fear and guilt woven into the dominant religious attitude, which is closer to the morbid contemplation of death than to the joy of living.
From either perspective, it underlines the fact that contemplation of death (or the dying man) is imperative and urgent.
The audience is taken from the contemplation of death to its practicalities.
2035(b), which is to equalize the treatment of transfers at death and transfers in contemplation of death (deathbed transfers), applies to QTIP just as it does to other property.
(1) When insured purchased a one year accidental death policy and arranged for the policy to be owned by his children from the beginning, the proceeds were includable in his estate as a transfer in contemplation of death when he died within the policy term.
During this time, he reflects on his endangered marriage, interspersed with philosophizing and bits of poetry: "He finds it funny that in his brief contemplation of death, it's not religion or philosophy or even photography, but poetry that consoles and prepares." The novel is thought-provoking, while at the same time the author deftly maintains and steadily builds suspense.