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What do per stirpes or per capita mean for estate administration?

Most Illinois residents strive to be as fair as possible when it comes to distributing their property after death. They want to take care of their families while making estate administration as smooth and simple as possible. One of the decisions to be made involves how heirs and beneficiaries inherit those assets.

For many Illinois residents, there are two primary options. The first involves leaving an inheritance with the intention of it benefiting generations. For example, if an inheritance is left to one heir or beneficiary, but if he or she passes away before the estate holder, then it goes to that person's children, and so on down the line. Those secondary individuals receive equal shares of the assets the deceased person was to receive. This is referred to as per stirpes.

Another option is leaving assets to heirs or beneficiaries in equal parts. If one of them dies before the estate holder's death, that share is then equally distributed among the remaining individuals. This is referred to as per capita. The group receiving shares does not have to be children or even part of the family. If they are not relatives, each should be specifically named in order to avoid confusion or misidentification.

Making these designations are just two popular ways in which to plan for estate administration. The good news is that estate planning allows numerous ways for an individual to leave inheritances for those they love. Finding the right avenue or combination of avenues that will work best for a particular person depends on his or her family dynamic and circumstances.

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