per stirpes adv or adj[Latin, by familial stocks]
: by right of representation [the estate was divided per stirpes ] used of a method of distributing an esp. intestate estate compare per capita NOTE: Per stirpes distribution provides for division of an estate equally among the members of the group of descendants having a particular degree of kinship (as children), with the issue (that is, the offspring) of a deceased member of that group representing the deceased member, taking the deceased member's share, and dividing it equally among themselves. For example, if a decedent had three children, one of whom had already died leaving issue, the estate would be divided into thirds, with each living child receiving a one-third share, and the issue of the deceased child dividing a one-third share equally amongst themselves.
Source: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law ©1996. Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. Published under license with Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.