What Does Per Stirpes Mean in Your Will?
Hi, it’s Guy DiMartino. I am a Northwest Indiana estate planning and probate lawyer. If you have any questions about an estate planning matter, you can always set up an appointment with me at indianastatemeeting.com you’ll be able to come into the office if that’s what you’d like; or we can have a telephone conference; or we can do something by video if that’s more convenient for you. I was meeting with some folks a couple of weeks ago and they were reviewing some of their estate planning documents and they said, “Hey, what is this Latin term that I see here?”
What is this thing called per stirpes? And I said, oh, that’s a Latin term “per stirpes” And what it means in Latin is by root or by representation. In plain English, here is what it means in your will or in your document. Say you have three children, and you want to divide your estate equally between your three children, however, one of your children pre-deceased you, then that child’s share will go to their issue, their children.
So, this is how it works. Say you have a three children, Abigail, Bill and Charlie. Abigail passes away and leaves you two grandchildren. After you pass away, Charlie will get one third of what you have left in the estate. Bill will get one third of what you left in the estate. And Abigail’s kids will get one sixth each. They’ll split that one third. That is what it means when you’re looking at an estate planning document, whether it’s a last will and testament or trust, and you see the term per stirpes. It goes by root or by representation.