Vested or contingent interest? Life interest trust

I would be very grateful if I could receive some thoughts on the interpretation of the following clause in a life interest trust created by the settlor during her lifetime.

"1. The Trustees shall hold the property until sale and the net proceeds of sale in trust: -

(a) for the Settlor during her lifetime and

(b) after the death of the Settlor for child A and Child B and Child C as tenants in common in equal shares but if either of them shall predecease the Settlor leaving a child or children of their own then such child or children if more than one in equal shares per stirpes shall take the share which his her or their deceased parent would otherwise have taken"

Please note I have substituted the children’s names for Child A, B and C.

The Settlor is still living and unfortunately Child C has predeceased her leaving no children of her own.

I am struggling to decide whether Child C’s interest was vested or contingent because of the substitution clause. Child C did not have any children when the life interest trust was created but Child A and B did and I think the draftsman had this in mind when he used the words “if either of them shall predecease the Settlor” instead of the words “if any of them shall predecease.”

Any input into the interpretation would be very much appreciated.

Emma Davies
masefield solicitors LLP