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per stirpes

(purr stir-peas) adj. Latin for "by roots," by representation. The term is commonly used in wills and trusts to describe the distribution when a beneficiary dies before the person whose estate is being divided. Example: "I leave $100,000 to my daughter, Eleanor, and if she shall predecease me, to her children, per stirpes." Thus, if Eleanor dies before her parent, then the $100,000 will be divided among her children equally. A way to make this more clear is to substitute for per stirpes: "…to her children, by right of representation, share and share alike," which is clear to the non-lawyer. If there is no provision for distribution to children of a predeceased child, then the gift will become part of the residue (what is left after specific gifts), and then the grandchildren may not share if there are surviving children of the giver.

See also: descent and distribution  trust  will 

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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications