Do grandchildren inherit parents portion if parent is deceased? Revealed! [2023]

Yes, grandchildren can inherit their parents’ portion if their parent is deceased.

Per Stirpes Inheritance

  • If a parent is deceased, grandchildren can inherit their parent’s portion.
  • The “per stirpes” principle divides the estate among descendants, with each child inheriting an equal share of their deceased parent’s portion.

Varies by State

  • The rules for per stirpes inheritance vary from state to state.
  • The inheritance distribution follows the intestacy laws of the state where the grandparent resided at their death.

Example: New York

  • In New York, if a married person passes away without a will, their estate typically divides as follows:
  • The spouse receives the first $50,000 and half of the assets.
  • The remaining half goes to the children.
  • If one of the children has already passed away, their share goes to their own children, the grandchildren, with each grandchild representing their deceased parent.

Wills and Individual Preferences

  • The language and provisions of the grandparent’s will play a crucial role in determining how assets distribute.
  • If a grandparent did not account for their grandchildren in their will, it’s possible the grandchildren may not receive an inheritance.

Per Capita Distribution

  • Some wills opt for ‘per capita’ distribution, dividing assets equally among surviving adult children, excluding descendants.”
  • In this scenario, surviving siblings receive the entire estate.

How does “per stirpes” inheritance work in the case of multiple generations

Per stirpes inheritance divides the estate: This approach divides the estate into shares for each branch of the family.

Equal shares for each branch: Each branch, represented by the children of the decedent, receives an equal share of the estate.

Predeceased beneficiary’s share: If a first-generation beneficiary predeceases, we distribute their share among their issue (children or descendants).

Example: Consider a grandparent with three children, A, B, and C. A has two children, B1 and B2, while B has two children, C1 and C2. If A dies before the grandparent, A’s share of the estate is divided equally between B1 and B2. If B dies before the grandparent, B’s share is divided equally between C1 and C2.

Continuation down the branch: The process continues until we identify a living beneficiary to receive the inheritance within the family branch.

Varied generational coverage: Per stirpes inheritance rules vary by state and can include multiple generations, like grandchildren or great-grandchildren.

State-specific rules: Per stirpes inheritance rules can differ between states, requiring legal consultation to comprehend the relevant regulations in your particular situation.

Consulting Local Laws

  • To ensure assets distribute as desired, individuals should grasp their state’s intestacy laws and craft a comprehensive will.

In summary, the inheritance of grandchildren when a parent is deceased depends on the per stirpes principle, state intestacy laws, and the content of the grandparent’s will. Legal advice and estate planning are crucial for ensuring assets distribute as intended.

9 Inheritance laws for grandchildren if parent is deceased

People often ask “Do grandchildren inherit parents portion if parent is deceased”, well these are the Inheritance laws for grandchildren if parent is deceased:

  1. When a grandparent dies without a will and their child is also deceased, grandchildren inherit the share designated for their deceased parent.
  2. Grandchildren can inherit from a grandparent’s estate if their parent predeceased the grandparent, and no will exists.
  3. Grandchildren can inherit from a grandparent’s estate by being named as beneficiaries in the grandparent’s will.
  4. In certain states, when the parent is deceased, a grandchild can inherit from the grandparent’s estate.
  5. Grandchildren inherit under “per stirpes” inheritance laws, with each child receiving their deceased parent’s share, and grandchildren inheriting if their parent is also deceased.
  6. Adopted children, including step-children adopted by a step-parent, inherit rights according to intestacy rules.
  7. Without a will, a grandparent’s inheritance follows state-specific intestacy rules, determining distribution.
  8. Inheritance laws for deceased parents and grandchildren vary by state; consult legal advice for guidance.
  9. Grandchildren typically lack a legal right to inherit a deceased grandparent’s property, but exceptions exist in specific situations.

Are there any limitations to the number of generations that can inherit under “per stirpes”

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Extending Per Stirpes Inheritance: Per stirpes inheritance continues through generations until a living beneficiary is identified to receive the inheritance.

State-Specific Rules: It’s vital to emphasize that the rules governing per stirpes inheritance can vary greatly among different states. Therefore, consulting with an attorney is essential to understand how these rules apply in your unique situation.

Limits on Generations: There are limitations to the number of generations that can inherit under “per stirpes”:

  • Typical Stopping Point: Per stirpes inheritance typically reaches its endpoint at the grandchildren or great-grandchildren level.
  • State-Imposed Restrictions: Some states restrict per stirpes inheritance, setting a maximum number of generations, often around four or five.
  • Distribution in the Absence of Living Descendants: When a family branch lacks living descendants, their inheritance share is redistributed among the surviving branches.
  • Complexities in Multi-Branch Families: Per stirpes inheritance complexity arises when multiple family branches have different descendant counts, possibly resulting in unequal distributions.

Can an adopted child inherit from their biological grandparent’s estate

The answer to the question is not straightforward and depends on the specific circumstances. Here are some possible scenarios:

  1. In most cases, an adopted child will not inherit from their biological grandparent’s estate unless the biological grandparent provides for them in their will.
  2. In about one-third of states, posthumous adoption by a stepparent allows a child to inherit from the deceased biological parent. In this case, an adopted child retains inheritance rights, inheriting from their birth parent or biological grandparent.
  3. Adopted children usually possess equal inheritance rights as biological children under intestate succession laws. Nevertheless, the adopted adult may not inherit from a biological relative who dies without a valid will or excludes them in a valid will.
  4. In specific states, like Illinois, birth parents might reclaim property given as gifts or through wills from their adopted child’s estate.

It is important to consult with an attorney to understand how the specific rules for inheritance apply in your situation.


In conclusion, whether grandchildren inherit a deceased parent’s portion depends on a combination of factors, including state-specific intestacy laws, the grandparent’s will, and the per stirpes principle. Specific circumstances, like a grandparent dying without a will and their child being deceased, can grant grandchildren inheritance rights. To ensure assets go where intended, individuals must consult legal experts for proactive estate planning, as inheritance laws vary by state.

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