Estate planning is the process of creating legal, written instructions for what you want to be done with your estate after you die or if you become incapacitated, including who will inherit your property, how your bills will be paid, who will care for any minor children and other important decisions.
A commonly used term in estate planning is per stirpes – but what exactly does per stirpes mean?
Per stirpes is a common beneficiary designation so that your beneficiaries inherit a fair and equal share of your estate. With a per stirpes designation, any amount that you leave for a beneficiary who dies before you will be passed down evenly to their heirs. Per Stirpes is the default method of dividing a deceased person’s estate in Illinois if the deceased dies without having a will.
An example* of an estate per stirpes beneficiary designation in Illinois is that if a parent has three children, these three children would each receive an equal one-third share; if one of the children predeceases the parent but left three of their own children, the
two surviving children would each receive a one-third share and the three grandchildren would receive equal one-ninth shares from their parent’s one-third share. This method of planning for the distribution of an estate is very common because it satisfies the concerns of many persons that an estate be distributed fairly.
If you want to protect your loved ones after you are gone, an experienced estate planning lawyer can advise you on the best options designation and protecting your beneficiaries and heirs for your specific situation. To talk to a qualified attorney in Chicago or Lombard, contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-687-9100.
We serve Cook, Dupage, Kane, Lake, and Will counties.
* ELEMENTS OF ILLINOIS LAW: ESTATE PLANNING AND PROBATE ADMINISTRATION (IICLE®, 2020).