per stirpes

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Per Stirpes

[Latin, By roots or stocks; by representation.] A term used to denote a method used in dividing the estate of a person. A person who takes per stirpes, sometimes called by right of representation, does not inherit in an individual capacity but as a member of a group.

In a per stirpes distribution, a group represents a deceased ancestor. The group takes the proportional share to which the deceased ancestor would have been entitled if still living.

For example, a man died intestate; his wife predeceased him. He had four children, three of whom are still living at the time of his death. The deceased child had three children, all still living. These three grandchildren will share equally in one-fourth of their grandfather's estate, the share the deceased parent would have taken if still alive. The three living children will also each receive one-fourth of the estate.

Per stirpes differs from per capita, in which an equal share is given to each of a number of persons who all stand in equal degree of relationship to the deceased.


Descent and Distribution.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

per stirpes

(purr stir-peas) adj. Latin for "by roots," by representation. The term is commonly used in wills and trusts to describe the distribution when a beneficiary dies before the person whose estate is being divided. Example: "I leave $100,000 to my daughter, Eleanor, and if she shall predecease me, to her children, per stirpes." Thus, if Eleanor dies before her parent, then the $100,000 will be divided among her children equally. A better way to make this clear is to substitute for per stirpes: " her children by right of representation, share and share alike," which is better drafting since it is clear to the non-lawyer. If there is no provision for distribution to children of a predeceased child, then the gift will become part of the residue (what is left after specific gifts), and then the grandchildren may not share if there are surviving children of the giver. (See: descent and distribution, will, trust)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

per stirpes

Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

PER STIRPES. By stock; by roots.
     2. When, for example, a man dies intestate, leaving children and grandchildren, whose parents are deceased, the estate is to be divided not per capita, that is, by each of the children and grandchildren taking a share, but per stirpes, by each of the children taking a share, and the grandchildren, the children of a deceased child, taking a share to be afterwards divided among themselves per capita.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
If you name your children as contingent beneficiaries and they have children you may want to consider adding the Latin term "per stirpes." Per stirpes means that should the contingent beneficiary predecease the account owner; the share allotted to them would be equally distributed among their children.
individual had predeceased, to his issue per stirpes. (90) The
(5) With an intestate estate in Florida, when there is no surviving spouse of a decedent, real property is distributed per stirpes to heirs as tenants in common--the default form of co-owned property.
The choice between per capita and per stirpes is personal but often causes confusion.
The will also provided that if any of the legatees predeceased Tatum Sr., their shares would pass to their descendants per stirpes.
Upon the death of any child, that child's share of the income will be distributed to that child's children per stirpes. No principal may be distributed from either trust until the trust terminates.
Top court rules heir's children cannot inherit all assets per stirpes
Do you know the difference between per capita and per stirpes? If not, pay attention.
If an author dies before serving notice of termination on the grantee, then the right to exercise that interest passes to the author's heirs per stirpes as defined in section 203.
The term per stirpes is used when it is desired that the share of a deceased beneficiary go to the beneficiary's children (in Latin it means "by the trunk," "by right of representation," or "by roots or stocks").
The policyowner names a class of beneficiaries "per capita" or "per stirpes"--A per capita (by the heads) distribution means that the proceeds will be split according to the number of beneficiaries in the class.