This website’s glossary describes “by right of representation” and “issue” as follows:
BY RIGHT OF REPRESENTATION (aka PER STIRPES DISTRIBUTION)
A distribution of property that passes such that any property that would otherwise pass to a predeceased heir or beneficiary is distributed instead to his/her then living issue, equally if in the same generation. Contrast: PER CAPITA DISTRIBUTION.
The class of individuals descending from a common ancestor, ie, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc. Compare: DESCENDANT.
The pertinent statute is RCW 11.02.005(3), which provides as follows:
(3) “Representation” refers to a method of determining distribution in which the takers are in unequal degrees of kinship with respect to the intestate, and is accomplished as follows: After first determining who, of those entitled to share in the estate, are in the nearest degree of kinship, the estate is divided into equal shares, the number of shares being the sum of the number of persons who survive the intestate who are in the nearest degree of kinship and the number of persons in the same degree of kinship who died before the intestate but who left issue surviving the intestate; each share of a deceased person in the nearest degree shall be divided among those of the deceased person’s issue who survive the intestate and have no ancestor then living who is in the line of relationship between them and the intestate, those more remote in degree taking together the share which their ancestor would have taken had he or she survived the intestate. Posthumous children are considered as living at the death of their parent.
Hypothetical Situation 1:
A genealogical chart of George and Martha’s extended family for Hypothetical Situation 1 looks like:
Same result as in Alternative (a) but Susan’s child “stand in her shoes” and takes “by right of representation” what Susan would have taken had she been alive:
Hypothetical Situation 2:
A genealogical chart of George and Martha’s extended family for Hypothetical Situation 2 looks like:
Same result as in Alternative (a) but Susan’s children “stand in her shoes” and take “by right of representation” what Susan would have taken had she been alive:
Same result as in Alternative (c) but Barbara’s children “stand in her shoes” and take “by right of representation” what Barbara would have taken had he been alive:
Alternative (e) illustrates one of the peculiarities of Washington law, namely, that Washington law begins counting takers at the closest level of kinship having surviving takers (whether or not by right of representation). Notice that here, as a result of John’s share going to his child and eliminating the last taker at the child level, the shares of the grandchildren increase (from 1/4 to 1/3), as do those of the great-grandchildren (from 1/12 to 1/9). Such are the vagaries of probate law.
In Alternative (d), George was survived by a child, John, so there, Washington law begins counting recipients at the child level, with the result that John took half of the estate. In Alternative (e), George is survived not by a child, but only by grandchildren (and lower issue) — so here, Washington law now begins counting takers at the grandchild level, with the result being three takers (two living grandchildren + one deceased grandchild leaving now living children) at that level by right of representation —
A different method of distribution is “distribution per capita” — meaning that the property is distributed to all the takers in equal shares, regardless of level of kinship. Had George specified in his Will that his property was to be distributed “to my issue per capita” (the equivalent of “to my issue in equal shares”) then the identity of his issue would be determined under Washington law and be as specified above, but each would take an equal share according to the terms of his Will.