Definition of DONATIO in Black's Law Dictionary 4th Edition – Legal dictionary – Glossary of legal terms.

Definition of DONATIO

Lat. A gift. A transfer of the title to property to one who receives it without paying for it. Vicat. The act by which the owner of a thing voluntarily transfers the title and possession of the same from himself to another person, without any consideration. See Indiana N. & S. R. W. Co. v. City of Attica, 56 Ind. 476.

Its literal translation, "gift," has acquired in real law a more limited meaning, being applied to the conveyance of estates tail. 2 Bl.Comm. 316; Littleton, § 59; West, Symb. § 254; 4 Cruise, Dig. 51.

By the civil law (adopted into the English and American law) donations are either inter vivos (between living persons) or mortis causa (in anticipation of death.) As to these forms, see infra. A donatio or gift as between living persons is called donatio mera or pura when it is a simple gift without compulsion or consideration, that is, resting solely on the generosity of the donor, as in the case of most charitable gifts. It is called donatio remuneratoria when given as a reward for past services, but still not under any legal compulsion, as in the case of pensions and land-grants. It is called donatio sub modo (or modalis) when given for the attainment of some special object or on condition that the donee shall do something not specially for the benefit of the donor, as in the case of the endowment of hospitals, colleges, etc., coupled with the condition that they shall be established and maintained. Mackeld. Rom.Law, § 466; Fisk v. Flores, 43 Tex. 340; Noe v. Card, 14 Cal. 576. The following terms are also used: Donatio conditionalis, a conditional gift; donatio relata, a gift made with reference to some service already done, (Fisk v. Flores, 43 Tex. 340;) donatio stricta et coarctura, a restricted gift, as an estate tail.

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