The meaning of Per Stirpes and Per Capita in the Wills & the difference between them

The terms in the last will, testaments or similar documents that are “per stripes” and “per capita”. What does per stirpes mean? It means the distribution of your assets. These will or testaments can be canceled or taken back any time by the trust or the person himself. These terms simply describe how and whom you want to give your assets.

Per Stirpes:

Per stripes means by class or you can say by representation and even by class. This means that each and every person mentioned will get equal shares. If any person among the ones mentioned is dead then his/her share will be simply passed on to his/her spouse and children equally.

Let’s see an example to understand better

Nancy mentions in his will that asset is to be given to his children “per stirpes”

Assume that Nancy has 4 children

John, Tom, Julie and Mary

John has 2 children Charlie and Sophia

Tom and Julie have no child

Mary has a daughter Diana

Situation 1 – where are all 4 children of Nancy are alive

All four children will get an equal part of the asset that is ¼ part of the share will be given to each of them

Situation 2 – where John is deceased

Here Charlie and Sophia will get 1/8th share each and Tom, Julie and Mary will get ¼ share each.

Situation 3 – where Tom is deceased

Here, John, Julie, and Mary will get 1/3 share each.

Situation 4 – where John and Mary are deceased

Here, Charlie, Sophia will get 1/8 share, Tom and Julie will get ¼ each and Sophia will also get ¼ share.

Per Stirpes is commonly a term used in last will for family to handle the situations well without disputes. Your lawyer will help you in making decisions after you tell him the planning you are up to. Due to these terms, you can keep the will like it even any of the members mentioned in the will decease else you will have to change the will.

Per Capita:

Per Capita means headcount and number of people. This means that the persons mentioned in the will would get an equal amount of share. In will where this term is mentioned there the share of an individual who has deceased is not passed down instead is distributed to other individual’s mentions in the will. This term is mostly used by people who do not want to give their asset to any other individual accept selected by them

Let us assume an example to look into this

Nancy mentions in her will that her asset should be divided to her living children and grandchildren “Per Capita”

Assume that Nancy has 4 children

John, Tom, Julie and Mary

John has 1 child Charlie

Tom and Julie have no child

Mary has a daughter Diana

Situation 1 – where are all 4 children and 3 grandchildren of Nancy are alive

All four children will get an equal part of the asset that is 1/6 part of the share will be given to each of them

Situation 2 – where John is deceased

Here every child and grandchild will get 1/5th share each one

Let’s assume that Nancy mentions in her will that her asset should be divided to her living children “Per Capita”

 Here the asset will be equally divided only in her children that is 1/4 share to each child If anyone child is deceased then the asset will be divided into the lining 3 children and grandchildren will not get anything.

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