My aunt passed away and my sister and I were left money in her will per stirpes. How does that work?

Asked over 2 years ago - Saugerties, NY

Also, my uncle (my deceased aunt's husband) is still living.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Charles Adam Shultz

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A few more facts are necessary., such as the exact language of the gift. It sounds like your aunt left you and your sister money outright in the will. Not you your mom or dad (aunt's sibling) but to you and your sister. The language per stirpes means (by the stock). Depending on how the gift is worded it sounds like it was intended to be divided equal between you and your sister and if one of you were not living, that person's share would go to the their children if any.

    The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or... more
  2. Thomas F. O'Connell

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . You and your sister are entitled to that money and per stirpes means that if either of you had predeceased your aunt that the decedent's share would pass to the decedent's children and not the surviving sister. The only caveat is that since aunt's husband is still living, your aunt under New York law, can not entirely disinherit her husband as he is entitled to certain pre estate administration assets ( $15,000.00 cash the family car etc.) under the The Family Right Law and in addition a right of election which is right of the surviving spouse that could be as much as 1/3 of her estate. under a complicated formula taking into account all assets including testamentary substitutes which is too complicated to discuss in this short answer.
    This is a complicated area of the law. We are not providing legal advice. You should consult with an attorney practicing in estate administration..

    action you musThis is a complicated area of the law. We are not providing legal advice. Before taking any action... more
  3. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . To answer your specific question, per stirpes refers how you divide your parent's share. Basically, in this case you and your sister share equallly your deceased parent's share of your aunt's estate. If your aunt made bequests under her will to you and others under the will and she had assets in her name only you may be entitled to the bequests in question. If could be that he just does not want to pay you, but if the will provides for you and there are assets he must follow the will. Once the will is probated it becomes open to the public in the county where probated. You would be well served to retain your own estates attorney to ascertain and protect your rights under the will.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is , his website is and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more

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