Per Stirpes – Great-grandchildren

01 February 2023


Just following on from our recap on the per stirpes rule, I just wanted to share a recent experience which will just help you in navigating the rules. This is in particular with respect to grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the impact on the rule.

Essentially the rule states that yes, grandchildren and great-grandchildren take the share of their parents, but they must survive their parents. If they don’t survive, the share is not preserved.

It is best looked at through a diagram which is attached to this blog. In this scenario A dies a widow. She had four children B, C D and E. C predeceases with no children. B and E predecease with children and D survives. Therefore the estate is split 3 ways between B, D and E. So we have a series of one third shares. D gets all of the one third share because he has survived. The two children of E get (J and K) get one sixth each. B has three children. F, G and H. However, one of those children (G) pre-deceases both B and A but does have a great grand child (great grandchild I). In that case, the great granchild obtains the share and it is preserved. So as long as there is a live issue (i.e. child) down the chain, then the share is preserved. This arises under the definition of per stirpes under s. 3(3) of the Succession Act which states that “any issue more remote than a child of the deceased shall take through all degrees”. So it is the fact that the share is preserved for all degrees is the important point. In the example below, because Grandchild L is deceased (child of Child C), and both Child C and Grandchild L are both deceased that no share arises.

Hope this helps and we will be looking at some futher related aspect of this in future blogs.

Remember if you have any queries related to probate, capacity or will drafting please reach out through the query service on the website. Colm Kelly