Wills, Trusts, and Estates

Representation


English Per Stirpes

Under the English Per Stirpes system, shares are divided equally to children, then if dead, divided again to their children. Thus, grandchildren with fewer siblings get more money.

English Per Stirpes has vertical equality—bloodlines get equal amounts.

Modern Per Stirpes

Under the Modern Per Stirpes system, shares are divided equally to children, but if all children are dead, the property is divided among grandchildren. Thus, all grandchildren get the same amount if all the children are dead. If some children survive, it is the same as English Per Stirpes.

Modern Per Stirpes applies the same with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The division does not occur until the first generation with a live taker.

Modern Per Stirpes has horizontal equality—children/grandchildren get equal amounts—whenever all children are dead.

Virginia uses Modern Per Stirpes. VA Code § 64.2-202.

Per Capita at Each Generation

Under the Per Capita at Each Generation system, shares are divided equally to children, then if one or more are dead, the reminder is divided again to the grandchildren. Thus, all grandchildren always get the same amount.

Per Capita at Each Generation has horizontal equality—children/grandchildren get equal amounts—always.

The UPC uses Per Capita at Each Generation. UPC § 2-103(a).

Descendants' surviving spouses (i.e., children-in-law) never get anything in most jurisdictions.