• James D. Lynch

Per Stirpes vs. Per Capita

Per stirpes and per capita are common terms in wills and trusts to describe how a deceased person's estate is to be distributed.


Under the per stirpes distribution method, if a beneficiary predeceases the decedent, that beneficiary’s descendants will take the share of the estate to which their parent would have been entitled.


For example, assume the decedent (whom we will call X) has 3 children (A, B, and C), all of whom receive 1/3 of X's estate. But if A predeceases X and A had two children (D and E), B and C will receive 1/3 while D and E will equally share the other 1/3 (i.e. D & E each receive 1/6).


Under the per capita distribution method, if a beneficiary predeceases the decedent, that beneficiary’s share would pass to the other beneficiaries (NOT to the descendants).


For example, assume again X's 3 children (A, B, and C) are each entitled to receive 1/3. But if A predeceases X , B and C will receive 1/2. A's children (D and E) will receive nothing.


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