à cause de mort

Gargamelle

Senior Member
Salut tout le monde,

I'm translating a real estate-related document which describes the history of the ownership of the property. A widower inherited the usufruct of the property he jointly owned with his wife. Then he died a few years later,

sans avoir pris aucune disposition testamentaire ou autre à cause de mort


My try:

without making any testamentary or other disposition because of his death


It seems like it should be obvious, but it isn't to me. Does "a cause de mort" mean he didn't do anything about his will because he died before he could do anything about it? Or does it mean he didn't make any provisions in case of his death?

I'm probably overthinking this, but maybe not. Can anyone help?

Merci,

Gargamelle
 
  • LART01

    Senior Member
    French-France
    Bonjour,

    Oui, c'est une expression légale, utilisée par les notaires dans le cadre d'un testament:

    La disposition à cause de mort entre époux la plus courante est la donation au dernier vivant. Il s'agit d'une donation de biens à venir par acte notarié.
    Cette libéralité permet de donner au conjoint survivant la part maximale permise par la loi en présence d'enfants....

    Source: Conseil Supérieur du Notatriat.
     

    Coquecigrue

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    Hello,

    You are right to suspect that it means something else. It's not because of his death, "à cause de mort" is an expression that qualifies the type of legal act.
    There are dispositions "entre vifs or "inter vivos" in latin, that take effect when the parties are still alive (some types of gifts for example), and dispositions "à cause de mort" or "mortis causa", that only take effect at the person's death (a testament/will for example). English uses the latin expressions.

    Read the entry for mort in Termium's Juridictionnaire.
    ... Dans les espèces d’actes juridiques, l’acte dit entre vifs est celui dont les effets juridiques se produisent du vivant de son auteur. [...]
    L’acte à cause de mort ne produit tous ses effets qu’au moment du décès de son auteur. Tels sont les cas de l’assurance vie, de l’acte testamentaire et de la succession.
    So here they are saying that this man didn't make any testamentory disposition (which are mortis causa by definition), nor any other mortis causa disposition.
     

    Gargamelle

    Senior Member
    Thank you so much! Your answer is very helpful, as is the link to the Juridictionnaire. As it happens, what I called the husband's "inheritance" was a "donation entre vifs." I said "inherit" to simplify the context.

    Once again thanks to both of you.

    G
     
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