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What is the definition of Per Stirpes and when you can use it?

Estate planning is replete with foreign-sounding Latin based words like (per bustle) which can be a bit intimidating. But it is important to understand what they mean when you are making a will or building a living trust.


Per Stirpes definition :

It means “by roots” in Latin. This is for your beneficiaries. It takes the right of representation from your property, which means they will get an equal share of the person asset they are representing. It is normally applicable to your grandchildren. This term will be written like this in your will or trust, “I leave the XYZ for my then living descendants, per stirps”.


Let's see how it works:

Whatever property or asset a parent has and wishes to give it to their children then it is very simple. For example, you have two children then your estate will be divided into half and distributed to both children equally and your grandchildren will get nothing. But what if one of your children is no more at the time of your death? In this case the share of yours that child will be given to his/her children.

If your that child has 3 children, then your child alive will get ½ of your assets and the 3 children of the other child will get 1/3 part of the ½ share of the assets. Your child will receive 50-50 just the share of your deceased child will be distributed to his/her children equally.

This is how it will work if you mention Per Stirpes in your will or trust.


Distribution difference between “per stripes” and “per capita”?

There is another option called “Per Capita”, let me tell you the difference between both.

Per Capita means by headcount, in this case, it will be mentioned as "I leave my estate to my then living descendants, “per capita”, what will this mean?

Here what will happen is that if you have 2 children and 5 grandchildren then everyone will get 1/7 equal parts of your estate. But what will happen if one of your children predeceases you? In this case, your estate will be divided into six equal parts. In per capita, the estate is distributed only to the persons who are alive and it is not passed to the person's survival is mentioned. Like if it is written that “I leave my estate to mt then living children, as "per capita" then the assets will be divided into 2 parts only and if one of your child predeceases you then the asset will be given to the only child alive and will not be passed to the children of your deceases children.


What will happen to your assets/estate/property if you die without a will or trust?


All the above mentions terms are not only an important part of your last will or trust agreement. If you die without ant will or trust then what? In this case, your property/estate/assets will be divided to your heirs as per the state's rule. It means that the laws or the rules of the state where you live will determine who will what part of your property. These rules will decide which closest living relative will get how much of your assets. All the laws and rules will vary from state to state.

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