If you choose to distribute assets to your children, you may see your Will reference per stirpes. 

Per stirpes is a legal term that describes how assets are divided and distributed. Distributions made per stirpes mean each branch of your family receives an equal share. 

An example may help give it some meaning. Let's say you have three children. Distributing assets to your children would mean each child receives equal 1/3. That's pretty simple.

What if one of those children is deceased, but left you two grandchildren? In that case, distributing per stirpes would mean the two living children still receive 1/3 each, but the 1/3 for the deceased child would be split between that child's two children (your grandchildren), giving 1/6 to each grandchild. Each branch still receives 1/3, but one of those branches is split between two grandchildren.

Just saying per stirpes is a lot easier than spelling out what happens in every possible circumstance. It's one of those rare times when speaking like a lawyer means fewer words!

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