The Per Stirpes Distribution Default Rule: An Illustration

It is sadly not uncommon enough in the United States for a parent to outlive their child–a tragedy that befalls approximately 8% of families. I have been reviewing recent state law decisions, and I have encountered a few instances in which the estate planning documents for an individual that were prepared before the death of the child.

A per stirpes distribution occurs when the children of the deceased beneficiary stand in the shoes of that deceased beneficiary to receive the share that the deceased beneficiary would have received if he had remained alive. This default rule assumes that the deceased beneficiary still receives a share to be equally divided among any of his surviving children, and if no surviving children, then surviving grandchildren.

Illustration: Joe prepares a Last Will and Testament that calls for his 2018 Porsche 944, valued at $100,000, to be sold and distributed among his three children–John, Read the rest of this article!