Many legal translators simply choose not to translate Latin expressions into English or Spanish, leaving them as they appear in the original text. And, indeed, there are certainly dozens of latinismos used “as is” in both legal Spanish and legal English. Nevertheless, many of them do have accepted renderings in the other language that should probably be used instead of the Latin in translated texts. And when the Latin phrase in question is not in general use in the other language, a definitional translation may be warranted. In blog entries under Latinismos I will highlight some of the Latin expressions that I have encountered most often in my work.
The Latin term de cuius often appears in texts dealing with inheritance law (Derecho de sucesiones) and is an abbreviation of the expression de cuius hereditate agitur meaning “the one whose estate is at issue.” Thus, like causante (and often difunto, fallecido or finado) de cuius denotes la persona que causa o produce una herencia. In this context de cuius (as well as causante and the other terms mentioned above) may be rendered in English simply as “the deceased” or “the decedent.”