# How does Per Capita at Each Generation work when there are multiple living generations?

I've been researching Per Capita / Per Stirpes and their variants. Per Capita at Each Generation seems like the one I want, but I have a question about how it is divided in this example, which I have been unable to find answers to online.

Given an estate of \$360,000, how would it be divided in this scenario:

• Child A, living, has two living children A1 and A2.
• Child B, deceased, has two living children B1 and B2.
• Child C, deceased, has one living child C1.

The first generation (A and B) is straightforward: \$120,000 goes to A, and \$240,000 is pooled and goes to the next generation.

The second generation (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1) is where my question comes in. Since A was living, are A1 and A2 considered part of the pool for that generation or not? In other words, is the \$240,000 at this generation split between B1, B2, and C1; or is it split between A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1?

The key here is the A branch, where A also has living children. I have been unable to find an example online that covers this scenario.

• I don't have time for a full answer but the issue is well explored at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Per_stirpes#Per_capita_at_each_generation Oct 8 '19 at 19:34
• @ohwilleke: Yes, I read the Wikipedia entry before posting my question. Their examples do not include the situation in my question (a living child with living children). Oct 9 '19 at 13:45
• Children of a living child do not take (at all) in per capita at each generation. But, the children of deceased children all take the same share even if the deceased children had different numbers of children each. The same logic applies on down the line. Oct 10 '19 at 22:28

Given an estate of \$360,000, how would it be divided in this scenario:

Child A, living, has two living children A1 and A2. Child B, deceased, has two living children B1 and B2. Child C, deceased, has one living child C1. The first generation (A and B) is straightforward: \$120,000 goes to A, and \$240,000 is pooled and goes to the next generation.

The second generation (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1) is where my question comes in. Since A was living, are A1 and A2 considered part of the pool for that generation or not? In other words, is the \$240,000 at this generation split between B1, B2, and C1; or is it split between A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1?

The key here is the A branch, where A also has living children. I have been unable to find an example online that covers this scenario.

In a per capita at each generation distribution, A gets \$120,000, B1 gets \$80,000, B2 gets \$80,000 and C1 gets \$80,000, and A1 and A2 each get nothing.

In a per stripes distribution, A gets \$120,000, B1 gets \$60,000, B2 gets \$60,000, C1 gets \$120,000 and A1 and A2 each get nothing.

The alternative rules exist because people do not all agree regarding which of the distributions above is more fair and equitable.

In general, the descendants of a living descendant of the decedent get nothing in both a per capita at each generation distribution, and a per stripes distribution.

(Special rules apply when someone is related to the decedent through more than one line of descent, such as when someone's mother and father are both related to your grandfather or great-grandfather is deceased and one or both of your parents and all persons intermediate between one or more of your parents and the decedent are deceased, and in cases of half-siblings.)

The Per Capita rule is simple: all living descendants get an equal share.
(E.g. if you have two children, one childless and one with 8 children, each person gets 10%. I.e. one of your children gets 10%, and the other child (and family) get 90%.)

The Per Stirpes rule is more complicated, but more fair.
(e.g. if you have two children, one childless and one with 8 children), each of your two children each get 1/2. If the second child is dead, their half is divided among their 8 children).

• Draw the family tree, trim off all dead members with no living descendants, and trim off all descendants of living people.
• Starting at the top, divide the amount of money equally among the first level branches.
• If the person is alive, they get it, and their descendants get nothing.
• If the person is dead, recursively reapply this algorithm to distribute the money they would have received to their descendants.

The Per Capita at Each Generation rule is a combination of the above two.

• This is divided like Per Stirpes, but at each generation the remaining money is pooled and distributed equally among each branch that hasn't yet received an inheritance.

Given example Per Capita:

• There are 6 living descendants, and each gets an equal share.
• A, A1, A2, B1, B2, and C1 each get 1/6 (\$60,000).

Given example Per Stirpes:

• The three branches each have living descendants, so 1/3 goes to each.
• A gets 1/3 (\$120,000).
• B would get 1/3, but is deceased, so the rule is applied recursively, and B1 and B2 each get 1/2 of what B would have received, 1/6 (\$60,000).
• C gets 1/3, but is deceased, so C1 gets 1/3 (\$120,000).
• A1 and A2 get nothing (but may eventually inherit their share).

Given example Per Capita at Each Generation:

• The three branches each have living descendants, so 1/3 goes to each.
• A inherits 1/3 (\$120,000), but B and C are deceased, so their share is pooled and passed to the next generation.
• B1, B2, and C1 each get 1/3 of the remaining \$240,000, or \$80,000 each.
• A1 and A2 get nothing.
• This answer is incorrect. "Per capita" and "per capita at each generation" are two different things. wa-wills.com/legal-library/glossary/… Mar 3 '21 at 3:06
• @ohwilleke, thanks. I had confused "per capita" and "per capita at each generation". Mar 3 '21 at 5:06

My understanding is that in this example, A would get \$120,000, B1 and B2 would get \$60,000 each, and C1 \$120,ooo. That is, an equal division is made at each branch, and each branch is considered separately, following down the tree only when the parent is deceased.

If there had also been child D deceased, with children D1 deceased and D2 living, each of whom had two children D1A, D1B, D2A and D2B, then the D-branch would share equally with A, B, and C. D1A and D1B,would each get 1/4 of the D-branch share, or 1/16th of the total sum. D2 would get 1/2 of the D-branch share, or 1/8th of the total suam, and neither D2A nor D2B wold get anything.

If there had been a child E deceased, who had no living descendants, no share would be awarded to anyone because of E-branch; rather its share would be split among the other branches, as if E had never existed.

In short no one whose parent in the line of descent is living gets any award.

• I believe you're describing per stirpes, not per capita. May 12 '19 at 0:46