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.

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)

per stirpes


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.

References in periodicals archive ?
The choice between per capita and per stirpes is personal but often causes confusion.
For example, suppose that the insured has three children and that the residuary clause in the revocable trust provides that, "the balance is to be divided into shares, per stirpes, for the Settlor's descendants as survive the Settlor, and each such share shall be disposed of as provided in Article 4 of this Trust," under which Article 4 contains lifetime trusts for the descendants.
their shares would pass to their descendants per stirpes.
Upon termination of each trust, the remaining assets will be distributed per stirpes to the settlor's grandchildren.
Top court rules heir's children cannot inherit all assets per stirpes
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").
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.
A per stirpes (by the branches) distribution means that the distribution is first divided among the class--including a share for any predeceased member that is then split among that member's children.
Studies around the country showed that the majority of the public think that per stirpes by representation was always the norm, when, in fact, it was not.
8) "[I]f the decedent is survived by a spouse and one or more descendants, the surviving spouse shall take a life estate in the homestead, with a vested remainder to the descendants in being at the time of the decedent's death per stirpes.