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What does per capita and per stirpes language mean to estate planning in Port St. Lucie Florida?

FLORIDA – October 21, 2020

Florida estate planning attorney can help with the completion of estate planning documents in Fort Pierce Florida.  An estate plan usually includes: 1) last will and testament with guardianship if there are minor children, 2) an advanced healthcare directive and a 3) durable power of attorney.

  1. A Last Will and Testament is important for the purposes of explaining where and how an individual would like their assets divided, debts resolved and end of life issues outlined. An experienced probate attorney can make sure a will contains the legally necessary language so that a person’s wishes can be honored at the time of their death. A Florida will must be prepared properly, signed, witnessed and notarized. Florida recognizes different types of wills including pour over wills, Medicaid wills, and wills including testamentary trusts.  An experienced estate planning attorney can explain the differences between these types of wills.
  2. An Advance Healthcare Directive is the document that details the type of care individuals may want administered in the event they become disabled and cannot speak for themselves.
  3. A Durable Power of Attorney designates another person to conduct business on behalf of someone who cannot. In the event of disability all other powers of attorney become ineffective except for this one document, the durability of this document allows it to survive disability and is fundamental to estate planning.

Per capita and per stirpes.

Within the will or trust, distribution of assets may be discussed and completed through per capita distribution,  or per stirpes distribution.  A probate attorney can explain per capita distribution, where all members of a particular group receive an equal share of the distribution. That group can be children, all combined descendants, or named individuals. Under per capita, the share of any beneficiary that precedes a person in death is shared equally among the remaining beneficiaries. Within a beneficiary designation, per capita typically means an equal distribution among the children.  Per stirpes distribution uses a generational approach. If a named beneficiary precedes someone in death, then the benefits would pass on to that person’s children in equal parts. Spouses are generally not part of a per stirpes distribution.

Hire an attorney.

Estate planning is important to secure an individual’s assets, and keep loved ones from further undue hardship after a death.  The documents reveal end of life wishes, and direction on asset disbursements.  Estate planning attorneys in Port St. Lucie can answer questions regarding estate planning needs and outline the language within the documents to suit a person/s specific wishes.


The Estate, Trust & Elder Law Firm, P.L.

IRC Chamber of Commerce
2940 S. 25th Street
Fort Pierce, FL 34981
Phone: 772-828-2588




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