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Half of American couples lack functional estate plan

"Estate Plan"
“Estate Plan”

The “Couples, Money & Retirement” report by Ameriprise Financial highlights that although 95% of U.S. couples converse about their finances, only half have a functioning estate plan. This uncertainty regarding their future financial security leads to disagreements in relationship and conflicts in retirement saving and spending.

This study involved over 1,500 U.S. couples aged 45 to 70, with at least $100,000 in investable assets. The main aim was to understand their investment behavior and retirement strategies. The research provided insights into their saving patterns and pension management behaviors.

Even with shared retirement goals, 24% of couples could not settle on the amount to save or how much wealth to allocate to their children. Most couples didn’t have consensus on how to distribute their wealth, which can lead to misunderstandings and disagreements.

Emphasizing the importance of estate planning, financial planner Marcy Keckler offers three key advices.

Addressing estate planning gaps among couples

Firstly, she encourages couples to discuss their financial situation openly and start planning their estate sooner. Secondly, they should seek professional advice, which can simplify the complex process and ensure all legal requirements are met. Lastly, she advises keeping estate plans updated with changing circumstances such as child birth, new property purchase, and changes in tax laws.

Keckler further explains that the lack of estate planning can cause complications and disagreements among surviving family members. Proper estate planning minimizes taxes for beneficiaries, provides peace of mind by ensuring your wishes are respected, and helps avoid misunderstandings.

She encourages couples to feel accomplished after setting up their estate plan and underlines the significance of maintaining and updating these documents. Lastly, she stresses on communicating with healthcare providers about these plans to ensure efficient execution during emergencies.

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