As stated in McCarton v. Estate of Watson, 39 Wn App. 358, 363 (1984):
Under Washington law, a gift causa mortis is established when:
So, for example, in U.S. v. Wells, 283 U.S. 102, 51 S. Ct. 446 (1931), Decedent, suffering from asthma, ulcerative colitis, and intestinal cancer, made transfers in December, 1919, and January and June, 1921, during which time he was multiply hospitalized and released, and he ultimately died in August, 1921. While the government alleged that Decedent made the transfers in contemplation of death, the Court found that Decedent had survived the peril that had existed at the time of the various transfers and held that Decedent had made gifts inter vivos instead.
In Fendley v. Laster, 260 Ark. 370, 538 S.W.2d 555 (1976), the donor had had a serious heart attack and had made a gift two months later. Nevertheless, he thereafter actively conducted his business affairs for approximately one year and died five years after making the gift. The Court found that the donor had recovered from the peril and held that the gift causa mortis to be invalid.
And in Newell v. National Bank of Norwich, 212 N.Y.S. 158, 214 A.D. 331 (1925), the donor was seriously ill and expected to promptly die, but he recovered and lived for four more years; Held: no gift causa mortis.
Lastly, merely because a gift is made in contemplation of death does not necessarily make it a gift causa mortis. In Grand Rapids Trust Co., v. Bellows, 224 Mich. 504, 195 N.W. 66 (1923), Decedent made a gift while hospitalized and diagnosed in the last stages of death and died two days later; Held: gift inter vivos.
And in Vosberg v. Mallory, 155 Iowa 165, 135 N.W. 577 (1912), the donor made a gift while in extremis and died three days later: Held: gift inter vivos.