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Per Stirpes Rule

Distributions of a will have many determinants, one being per stirpes. Being unsure about what per stirpes means or how the per stirpes distribution works can often lead to questions like the ones answered below by the Experts.

What is per stirpes?

Per stirpes can be found in legal terminology referring to the way an estate is distributed. This type of distribution is described as each branch of the family will receive an equal share of the estate. When the heir of the first branch predeceases the decedent, then that share of predeceased would be given to that heir’s issues (children). Per stirpes is also known as right of representation distribution.

What is the meaning of per stirpes in the text of a will?

Per stirpes distribution can be described as equal shares by branch in the family. If something is left per stirpes then it will be divided equally beginning with the first branch of the family. If there are 3 children of the decedent then each child will get 1/3 of the asset. If one of those 3 children pre-deceased the decedent then their 1/3 share would be equally given to their children (grandchildren).

What would happen if someone listed an individual has their heir and then passed away before they did, and there was no children? Does the right of representation or per stirpes distributions only refer to children of the heir?

Per stirpes distribution or right of representation refers to children/child of the decedent, or their heirs. If the child that was an heir passed away before the parent but they left behind a child/children then that child/children will inherit in the place of the parent that died before the grandparent.

If there were no children then the laws of intestacy would come into effect. Per stirpes distribution would not include you in the inheritance of your family member. However, the laws of intestacy will search out the next heir in line. If there was no spouse, children, parents, or brothers and sisters living, then the descendants of those siblings of the family member would inherit.

If my parent died in 2002. They left property to me and my sibling. We never got the property changed into our names. My sibling passed in 2006. The property is still in my parent’s name. The will listed that the parent gives the living issues to me per stirpes. What does this mean?

Per stirpes addition in the will means that when the parent died all of their living children would equally share in the estate. If one of their children had died before them then the children of that child would step in and split that share. So if your parent had two children, and each of you had two children, then you and your sibling would share equally. If your sibling would have died before your parent then your sibling’s children would step in and take equal shares of the ½ ownership. So they would each get ¼ of the estate. Since your sibling passed afterwards then per stirpes has no effect. At this point your sibling’s last will and testament devise how their share of the property will be disbursed. If there is no will, then the law of intestacy will apply.

An individual died with a trust and left it to a beneficiary with right of representation. Does that mean it will only pass to children of the beneficiary if they happen to die first?

This type of distribution (per stirpes/right of representation) always follows the same process. If someone is listed in a will per stirpes and they pass before the person who named them in the will then the heir’s children stand in for them and split the asset equally.

Being knowledgeable regarding per stirpes terminology can help when faced with circumstances involving distribution in a will. Experts can help answer what per stirpes is or how the per stirpes distribution works. Get the answers fast and affordably by asking an Expert.
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