In the context of Probate and Estate Administration, "per stirpes" is a method of distributing a deceased person's Assets among Beneficiaries or Heirs based on their relationship to the deceased person and their place within a family tree.
Translated from Latin, per stirpes literally means "by the branch" or "by the roots."
When assets are "distributed per stirpes," each branch of the family receives an equal share of the deceased's Estate. If a beneficiary in a particular branch is deceased, their share goes to their Descendants.
This method ensures that the descendants of a deceased beneficiary Inherit their portion, rather than that portion being divided equally among the surviving beneficiaries.
For example, let's say an individual dies, leaving behind an estate of $100,000 and three beneficiaries: A, B, and C. Beneficiary A is deceased but has two living children (A1 and A2). If the estate is to be distributed per stirpes, beneficiary A's share is divided equally between A1 and A2, and beneficiaries B and C each receive one-third of the estate.
This method ensures that descendants inherit the share their deceased ancestor would have received if they were still alive.
The per stirpes distribution method is often used to reflect the deceased person's intention to have their estate distributed among their descendants in a way that acknowledges family lines and the principle of generational succession.
It is in contrast with distribution assets Per Capita, which is when assets are given equally to beneficiaries or heirs, regardless of their relationship to the deceased.
Therefore it's best to consult with an Estate Attorney to ensure that wishes are carried out correctly.