Per Stirpes: Definition, Comparison, Distribution, and Beneficiary Methods.

per stirpes definition beneficiary distribution per stirpes vs per capita
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Now, here is the easiest route you can go through to achieve that. Through this article, we will see the definition, comparison between per stirpes vs per capita, its distribution, and it’s beneficiary.

Are you thinking about how to make your will, or are you in a state of confusion on how to share your properties or assets among your children and the generation to come after them; thereby making sure your money or property is receive by the right people.

Hope this article helps you learn how to distribute your property evenly.

Per Stripes

The term per stirpes is commonly using to refer to an individual’s assets under a will, and it is sometimes use in the beneficiary’s name for individual retirement accounts (IRAs) The term refers also to every person down a branch of a family tree.

Per stirpes often appear in wills and retirement accounts to define asset distributions; so that each branch of a family tree is use in accordance with the testator or account owner’s wishes. Children may also stand as representatives of their parents if and only if a parent passes before the decedent. Couples are not in grant in per stirpes distribution.

For the most part, this selection is use when planning a living will, last will, and proof. Since your finances and assets will be in share among named beneficiaries, the per stirpes and per capita rules must apply. Also in addition to this, it cannot be in transfer to any name which is not in addition to the written will.

Definition of Per stirpes 

This definition of per stirpes is a legal term from Latin use in the law of inheritance and estates. Its definition is also when the heir in the first generation of a branch dies before the decedent; the share that would have been given to the heir will be in circulation among the heir’s issue in equal shares.

Per stirpes in definition as a legal term means that if a beneficiary dies before the testator {the person who has made the will}; the beneficiary’s share of the inheritance goes to that beneficiary’s heirs. It also stipulates that a beneficiary’s heirs receive the inheritance should the beneficiary die before the testator.

Per stirpes,definition, beneficiary, distribution

Per Stirpes Beneficiary

Per stirpes translates “by roots” in Latin.1 It refers to your beneficiaries. They take from your estate by right of representation; which means that they’ll inherit in a share equal to that of the individual they’re representing.

The term is commonly use for grandchildren. It also might appear in your will as something like, “I leave XYZ to my then living descendants, per stirpes”. For example, let’s say that you name your daughter as a beneficiary in your will or IRA. If she has any kids and happens to die before you do, any benefits will pass onto them. Spouses cannot be in recognition for per stirpes designations; so if your daughter’s spouse was still alive at the time, he or she would not receive anything. 

With a standard per stirpes designation, funds or assets can be in distribution among multiple generations. So, if you have numerous children and grandchildren, and one of your kids dies before you, his or her share would pass onto the next generation.

Per Stirpes Distribution

It means that each living beneficiary in a class of beneficiaries will receive an equal share. If a beneficiary is dead and survived by any descendants, that beneficiary’s descendants would take what their dead parent would have taken “by representation. An estate of a decedent is in distribution per stirpes; if each branch of the family is to receive an equal share of an estate.

It also uses a generational approach. If a named beneficiary dies before you do, then the benefits would pass on to that person’s children in equal parts. Spouses are generally not part of a per stirpes distribution.

Assume that you had two children, With per stirpes; if one child were to precede you in death and the other child would receive half, then the children of the deceased child would get the other half.

Per stirpes, definition, beneficiary, distribution, per stirpes vs per capita
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Per Stirpes vs Per Capita

Per capita is typically the lack of option on most retirement accounts if per stirpes is not in selection; it also means an equal distribution among your children. Under per capita, the share of any beneficiary that precedes you in death is shared equally, among the remaining beneficiaries. The estate planning terms “per stirpes distributions” and “per capita distributions” are commonly use in last wills and prove and revocable living trusts. They describe how you want your property to be in distribution to your beneficiaries.

Per stirpes distribution means that if a beneficiary predeceases the account holder; then any assets that would have gone to that person are distributed to that person’s surviving descendants Instead. While per capita distribution means that if a beneficiary predeceases the account holder, then any assets that would have gone to that beneficiary are simply given out to the remaining similar beneficiaries. 

I hope the above explanation on per stirpes vs per capita is a handful to you.

per stirpes, definition, beneficiary, distribution per stirpes vs per capita
image source: Effcient BOE


In conclusion, we have looked into things that describe a will and how it has to be written for a good understanding when dispatching them to its respective owners. I hope this article was helpful to you.

Should You Use per Stirpes?

Yes, it should be used only in the context of mentioning “descendants” and not” children” or “siblings”.

What Happens with per Stirpes if No Descendants?

Any per stirpes who have no living descendants are excluded from the primary share count.

Which Is Better per Stirpes or per Capita?

The beneficiary’s inheritance will be passed on to their next-in-line heir, or heirs, per stirpes. While in per capita, the beneficiary’s inheritance would be divided evenly among any surviving beneficiaries if the beneficiary died.

Is per Stirpes a Good Idea?

It’s a good plan because it keeps you from having to make new documents or change plans every time a beneficiary dies while you’re still alive. Since per stirpes distributions automatically go to all of a Beneficiary’s heirs in equal amounts, you don’t need to change any of your documents.

How Many Generations Does per Stirpes Cover?

Per stirpes takes into account as many generations as are needed to divide the assets. Let’s return to our example. Say that both Barry and Frank died before Anna, and that Frank left behind Jacob and Karen, his two children.

How Do You Use per Stirpes?

To use per stirpes correctly, you should give the gift to the person’s children or grandchildren, like “to [person’s] children or grandchildren, per stirpes.” In general, the person should be one person, not a group of people, and the word “descendants” (or “issue”) must always be used.

What Happens if You Have Multiple Beneficiaries and One Dies?

If you have more than one primary beneficiary and one of them dies, the death benefit is divided between the others. For example, if your spouse and your sibling are both listed as primary beneficiaries on your policy, they would each get 50% of your death benefit.

Which States Use Modern per Stirpes?

Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Utah, and West Virginia also use this method.

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