What does “per stirpes” mean?

UPDATED: Jun 19, 2014

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What does “per stirpes” mean?

When my mother died (intestate), my parent’s house (my father predeceased her also dying intestate) was transferred to my sister by deed. A Trust agreement was created wherein “upon the sale of the real property…, the Grantors hereby appoint the remainder interest in said property to… in five equal shares, per stirpes. In the event any of them predeceases the termination of the trust without issue, then such shares shall be given to the survivors of them in equal shares per stirpes.” Now my siblings refuse to sell the house or give me my share and is my understanding correct that the term “per stirpes” means that if I predecease my siblings, my spouse of 35 years inherits nothing?

Asked on June 19, 2014 under Estate Planning, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written here it appears that you are correct. But if you had "issue" - meaning children - then the children would inherit in your place.  But I would take the trust document to an attorney to review in its entirety to be sure.  Good luck.

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