What is "Taking by Representation"?

"Taking by Representation" means that when a person of one degree of kinship to a decedent predeceases the decedent, the descendants of the predeceased heir in the next degree of kinship to the decedent equally share the gift that would have been given to the predeceased heir.  That was a mouthful.  This pattern of receiving property from a decedent's estate is also called "per stirpes," which is Latin for "through the branches" (meaning the branches of the ancestral blood line).  RCW 11.12.110.  This statutory pattern of taking is also called the "anti-lapse" statute, because it prevents a gift from failing due to the beneficiary predeceasing the testator.

"Taking by representation” is best explained by an example:  a widow has three children, one of whom dies with two children of his own, the widow’s grandchildren.  When the widow herself dies, if she has no spouse, the widow’s children will each take one-third of her estate.  The deceased child’s two children, the widow's grandchildren, will split the deceased child’s one-third share, each receiving a one-sixth of the widow's estate.