What happens if you leave property to someone in your will, but that person predeceases you (meaning they died before you did)? Does the property go back into your estate, to be distributed to other people you named in your will who are still living? Or should it go to the descendants of the people that you meant to give it to? And if it goes to the descendants, how should it be divided among them? If you have a will, you may have noticed that it says that you leave certain items to your descendants “per stirpes” or “by representation,” but are not sure what those terms mean.

The easiest way to get your arms around this topic is to see it in diagrams, and so I’ve created the following video to explain these concepts: