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New data suggests that American investors in committed relationships overwhelmingly say they trust their partners and share similar retirement goals, but most haven’t put an estate plan in place. Ameriprise Financial’s “Couples, Money & Retirement” report found that 95 percent of couples agree that they’re honest and open with each other regarding their finances, and 91 percent said they share the same financial values.

However, many haven’t reached a consensus on several emotionally charged decisions about money. The survey, which polled over 1,500 American couples with $100,000 or more in investible assets, focused mainly on those between the ages of 45 and 70 who have retired within the last 10 years or plan to do so in the next 10 years. While it found that 93 percent of couples share similar goals for retirement and agree on when they should retire, 24 percent of respondents said they haven’t agreed on how much money they’ll need to save or how much they should spend on their children and grandchildren, both today and as part of their estates.

In fact, over half of couples surveyed said they haven’t set up an estate plan yet. Marcy Keckler, senior vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise Financial and a certified financial planner, offers a few tips for couples who need to set up an estate plan.

Don’t be intimidated.

Keckler told FOX Business that estate planning is for everyone, no matter the complexity of their financial situation or wealth. She explained that at its core, estate planning is about making choices about what you want to happen in the event you’re incapacitated and can’t make health-related or financial decisions on your own, even temporarily, or your death.

Engage with professionals.

According to Keckler, an estate planning attorney or qualified financial adviser can help you start an important yet usually emotional conversation and guarantee you have decisions recorded to cover various potential scenarios that might arise. Help from professionals can ensure your wishes for the legacy you wish to leave behind to your loved ones and heirs are carried out. She recommends choosing professionals who are willing to collaborate, noting that one of the most significant mistakes couples make is creating a will that specifies beneficiaries and forgetting to update their accounts to identify the correct beneficiary. She added that attorneys and financial advisers can work together to help ensure you’ve taken the necessary steps to have your plan executed according to your wishes.

Be proud of yourself.

Keckler said estate planning is an essential part of protecting your financial legacy and family.

It’s a tremendous accomplishment that should be celebrated once you’re finished. She recommends ensuring you know where the original documents and any digital or physical copies are so you can use them in case you need them. Keckler suggested that if you have a hospital or doctor of choice, send them a copy so they can keep them on file. This can save you or a loved one stress that you would otherwise spend trying to find them in an emergency and valuable time.

Revisit your estate plan every five years.

Keckler added that estate plans should be updated as your life changes to ensure they reflect your wishes. Moments in life like the birth of a child or grandchild, a divorce, significant shifts in income, acquisition of new property and a child reaching 18 years old are a few examples of when your estate plan should be revisited.

Estate planning may be scary for some couples who don’t want to face the future or want to avoid talking about finances, but it’s a necessary step to guarantee that your loved ones are taken care of once you’re gone.

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