Understanding per stirpes distribution of assets upon death can be daunting.
Illinois uses a rule called per stirpes distribution.
Understanding this rule is important to understand how property is distributed if a person that would have normally received assets died before the decedent. Under per stirpes each line of descent takes an equal share of the decedent’s estate. For example, John has no living spouse and has three children, Peter, Mary, and Paul. Peter has no one child, Mary has two children and Paul has three children. Sadly, Peter, Mary, and Paul all died before John, but all of their children (John’s grandchildren) survived. When John dies with no will his probate assets will pass to his grandchildren. However, because Illinois uses the per stirpes rule, the grandchildren will not receive equal shares.
If John dies with $900.00 in probate assets, each of his children will receive $300.00. However, since all of his children died before him, each child’s share will be split equally among that child’s children. Because John’s children each produced a different number of grandchildren, each grandchild’s share will be different (the grandchildren divide their parent’s share rather than the whole pool being divided among the grandchildren). Thus, Peter’s single child will receive the full $300.00, Mary’s two children will each receive $150.00, and Paul’s three children will each receive $100.00.
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