My sympathies for your family's situation.
There are 2 terms;
per stirpes ("by roots" or by representation) and per capita ("by heads")
So basically, say decedent has 2 children, a son and a daughter. Son has 2 children (grandchildren)
The estate plan provides for "per stirpes" division of property. Son predeceases parent, so daughter gets 50% of inheritance, and son's children divide son's inheritance equally.
In contrast, for per capita, say there is the same scenario. The 2 grandchildren and the daughter would equally share, so each would get 1/3 of the inheritance.
While a party is free to devise as they wish, per stirpes tends to be more common.
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