What Does “Per Stirpes” Mean?

If you’ve started your estate planning, you’ve seen the legal term “Per Stirpes” in your documents. What does it mean?  

“Per Stirpes” is Latin and means “by representation“.  In estate planning, it means that descendants of the next generation following a beneficiary will each receive an equal share of the beneficiary’s share if the beneficiary has predeceased the decedent.  

The following is an example:  

Mark dies without a spouse. He had one son, Kevin, who tragically died before him.  Kevin had two kids, Ryan and Hallie, and they survived both Kevin and Mark. 

Mark’s Will specified that when he dies his estate goes to Kevin “on a “Per Stirpes” basis”.  Since Kevin’s not around to receive his inheritance, Ryan and Hallie will take it on Kevin’s behalf, 50/50.  It doesn’t matter if Ryan and Hallie have kids of their own because those kids (Mark’s grandkids) would not inherit anything from Mark since their parents survived them.

If the term “Per Stirpes” is still unclear or if you don’t have your estate planning documents in place, please ask your attorney at The Fairfax Estate Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. to explain it when you are doing your estate planning.  Call 703-691-1888 today to make an appointment for a consultation.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.