There is a common legal phrase in the estate planning world: “Lineal Descendants Per Stirpes” or “LDPS.” And there’s a few reasons I am writing about it today. First, I use the phrase on a very regular basis, so it’s an important concept. But secondly, it has uses outside of just a legal document, like a will, and can help avoid probate if a person’s estate plan does not include a trust.
Lineal Descendants Per Stirpes allows an inheritance to automatically pass to a person’s descendants. This is extremely useful if there are multiple beneficiaries and their children should receive their share if they are not alive. Essentially, if a person is listed as a beneficiary and they pass, with the LDPS designation, their share automatically is divided to their descendants.
There are a few uses for the Lineal Descendants Per Stirpes designation. The first is within wills and trusts. Using LDPS allows for a long list of contingent beneficiaries without naming them all. Generally, I prefer using specifics, however, in the case of grandchildren or nieces and nephews who may not be born yet, the LDPS is a great way to provide for contingencies.
Even more importantly than within a will or trust, LDPS is a great way to provide for contingencies on a non-probate transfer (TODs, PODs, beneficiary designations, etc.). For example, a car uses the TOD designation, but does not allow for contingent beneficiaries. Using LDPS after the beneficiary would allow it to automatically transfer to that person’s children if the original beneficiary passes.
Lineal Descendants Per Stirpes is a mouthful and a fairly complicated legal tool, but it has significant uses in an estate plan. If you have questions on how to use LDPS in your plan, please feel free to give us a call.