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If it matters, this is in the US state of Oregon.

If we bequeath equal shares of something to our two children per stirpes, is his/her spouse automatically included, or only their children?

  • Strictly speaking "to our two children per stripes" is poor wording that could create problems through ambiguity. One would say "to my descendants per stirpes" or "to my issue stirpes", because "to our two children per stirpes" is ambiguous as to whether it includes afterborn or after adopted children, and as to whether it is really a class give to the children and not to their descendants in which the word per stirpes being used incorrectly to mean in equal shares. – ohwilleke Feb 6 at 22:57
  • Right. But it's the lawyer's job to cover such details. I'm just trying to get past the rather ambiguous definitions I've seen elsewhere. – WGroleau Feb 6 at 23:03
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Only the children

If I may suggest, don't put Latin terms you (and possibly your executor) don't understand - state what you want to happen in plain English. Oh, and hire a lawyer to draft it.

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  • A lawyer did it. One who doesn't have a strange attitude toward questions. – WGroleau Feb 6 at 6:49
  • Often a will uses the technical term which has a well defined meaning, and then defines it either in the Will in boilerplate or by reference to a statute in the state where it is executed. The definition from the probate code in the state where it is drafted is presumed to apply in the absence of a definition. But, no variation of the definition a per stripes includes a spouse who is not also a descendant of the decedent. (No state allows brother sister marriage, but many allow cousin marriage between two grandchildren of the same person under which a spouse could also be a descendant.) – ohwilleke Feb 6 at 22:54
  • Right. But a "well-defined meaning" in law isn't always the same meaning as in a layman's dictionary. In this case it should be the same, but the layman's dictionary was vague and the nearest law dictionary is some distance away. – WGroleau Feb 6 at 23:05

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