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01/06/2014 10:53 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

3 Retirement Lessons From ‘Downton Abbey'

See-ming Lee SML/Flickr

If you’re a fan of “Downton Abbey,” the hit British drama that airs in the U.S. on PBS’s “Masterpiece,” you know that family finances and estate planning (or the lack thereof) play a central role in the series. (And if you haven’t yet seen the end of Season 3 or the beginning of Season 4, you should also be warned that some spoilers are coming up shortly.)

These pecuniary themes have made the show something of a sensation among financial planners and lawyers, who see many of the same issues – and problems – in their clients’ lives. And the first installment of season 4, which premiered last night, was unlikely to disappoint this audience: During the episode’s gloomy first hour, characters wrangled with the consequences of the fact that Matthew Crawley, heir to the Downton estate, has perished in a car accident without leaving a will.

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