Taylor Swift’s Daughter-in-Law Should Probably Read Up on Estate Planning Laws
Taylor Swift dabbles in a number of arenas. Country music, pop music, men, politics, more men, maybe women, and, apparently, estate planning.
One of Taylor’s latest hits recalls a dream in which her daughter-in-law murders her (those are normally called nightmares, but I digress) for an inheritance. If you aren’t a Swiftie and/or live under a rock, the lyrics to “Anti-Hero” go:
After the pop superstar met her swift demise, her in-laws discover in a “Knives Out”-style reading of the Will (more on that in a moment) the estate wasn’t tailored to them.
There are some valuable lessons embedded in this masterpiece. Whether you think about killing your in-laws for the money or are at risk of being murdered by your in-laws, gather ‘round for a little song and dance dissecting this one line-by-line.
Taylor’s daughter-in-law should’ve familiarized herself with the Slayer rule before letting the bad blood boil over.
Although she may have been listening to Slayer to psyche herself up for high-profile murder, the Slayer statute explicitly disqualifies someone from inheriting from anyone they intentionally kill.
As Taylor says, “No body, no crime,” but hiding the body won’t retroactively get you in the Will. Neither will using threats to get her to change her estate plan right before the murder. Contrary to popular belief, you can actually draft new estate documents just prior to death as long as the details adhere to legal requirements and aren’t produced under duress.
Intimidating Taylor to mockup a new Will would be futile. Probate judges sniff out undue influence in estate plans. California’s probate court can be notoriously tedious. You bet your ass Taylor’s Will would take an era to sift through.
Let’s settle this one once and for all: there is no standard “reading of the Will.” Pop culture has gotten to y’all’s heads. Just because movies like “Knives Out” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” showcase the dramatic gathering of the family for a reading of the estate does not mean this happens in reality.
While there’s nothing saying you can’t do this, the truth is that estate documents are boring (even Taylor’s Version). The legal minutiae alone will bore half the room to death. On top of that, if you are not named in estate documents and never have been you have no right to access the contents of the estate.
Is Taylor Swift really going to hell? Debatable. If you also want to laugh at your in-laws from the grave, effective estate planning gives you one last chance. If you knew they were trouble when they walked into your life, effective planning can protect all your hard work from falling into the wrong hands.
You need to craft an estate plan that not only omits the in-laws from hell but also includes provisions in the event the in-laws decide to murder their way through your family. In most cases, a surviving spouse assumes the assets of their deceased spouse unless an estate plan or beneficiary designation says otherwise. Trusts give you far more control over your assets in death than a simple Will can.
You need an estate planning attorney that knows their shit. At K. Kelso Law, we make sure our clients are equipped to fight off any unwanted advances from thirsty in-laws trying to get their grubby little fingers on everything they’ve worked hard for. Fill in that blank space in your estate plan today.