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DEFINITIONS - Donat io Martis Causa'

Updated: Jun 29, 2021

DEFINITIONS - Donat io Mart is Causa'

Executor De Son Tort:

(Executor of his own wrong) Sn 303 He is neither an executor nor an administrator but is a self appointed executor who inter-meddles with the estate of the deceased. He may do any other act which a legal executor could have done. Such a person is an executor of his own wrong.

There are some exceptions:

(i) If a person intermeddles with the goods of the deceased to preserve them. or to provide for funeral expenses or for other immediate legal necessities, he is not an Executor de son tort.

(ii) If a person deals with the goods of the testator in the ordinary business, he is not an Executor de son tort.

E.g.: A sells the goods of the deceased testator to satisfy his own debts. He is an executor de son tort. In English Law the principle is very strict. In case of milking the cows or taking a dog to satisfy his own debt, the person becomes liable as executor de son tort. An executor de son tort is answerable to the rightful executor or administrator or to any legatee or creditor. He is liable to the extent of the assets which may have come to his hands.

Leading Cases:

(a) Padg'et Vs. Priest

(b) Robson Vs. Administrator General.

Donat io Mart is Causa' (Sn. 181).

This is the gift made in 'contemplation of death'. It provides that a person may dispose of any movable property by gift when he is in contemplation of death. The person Is in contemplation of death if he is ill and excepts to die shortly of his illness. Such a person may deliver possession of any movable property as a gift. The gift will not take effect if the donor recovers from illness during which it was made. It will also not take effect if he donee .dies prior to the donor.

E.g.: (a) A being seriously ill, and on expectation of death delivers to B. (1) A wrist watch (2) A promissory note, (3) Government bonds, and (4) Cash Rs. 2,000. The gift is valid.

(b) A makes a Donatio Mortis Causa and delivers B, the key of a trunk to give him the properties therein. A dies of illness. The gift is valid. Leading Cases are (!) Gardner Vs. Parker, (2) Ward Vs. Turner. Only movables must be given, and not immovables. Delivery must be made. Then only the gift is valid. A gift made In contemplation of suicide is not 'Donation Mortis Causa.'

Onerous Bequest:

Sn. 122 I.S.A, deals with Onerous.(burdensome) bequest. Under a will, the legatee B must- take both the bequests, one onerous and the other, not onerous otherwise he gets nothing. However, if the will contains two separate and independent bequests, the legatee is at liberty to accept the one and reject the other. Here, one may be beneficial and the other onerous. But because the transactions are different he is entitled to the option.

Leading Cases ars: (I) Syer Vs. Gladstone (ii) Warren Vs. Rudall


(i) A is having shares in X and Co. a prosperous company and also in Y and Co. which is in difficulties. A bequests all his shares in both companies, to B. if B refuses to accept the shares of Y and Co., he forfeits X and Co. shares.

(ii) If a testator bequeaths two separate and independent bequests to the same person, the legatee is at liberty to accept one and refuse the other. A is living in a rented house for which he is paying heavy rent than usual. A bequeaths to B this lease and also Rs. 10,000. B may refuse the lease but opt for cash.


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