If you live in California and you had no will, or you had a will or a trust that stated in the distribution, “in equal shares per stirpes to my descendants who survive me,” then the estate shall be distributed according to California Probate Code Section 246.  This is referred to as “per stirpes,” which is a Latin term that often appears in estate planning documents like California wills and trusts. It can be confusing and sometimes mistakenly. Here’s what it means:

Beneficiaries_Distribution

Per stirpes usually applies to a situation where you leave property to a group of people, like your children, some of whom die before you die. As an example, let’s say that you have two kids. One of your kids survives you but one of your kids (Macho Mike, who has two children of his own) dies before you. Then your property will be divided into two equal shares. Each surviving child receives a share, in this case one, and Macho Mike’s two children each receive one-half of his share, i.e. one-fourth of his share.

If Macho Mike died before you but didn’t have children of his own who are alive when you die, then only one share is created in this example.

Coastal Pacific Law attorneys are experienced in estate planning, and can help with your trust administration, probate administration, wills and trusts. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call (619)786-6563, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.

Photo by Ivan Ivankovic

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