Taylor Swift probably wasn’t thinking about estate planning when she wrote, “words, how little they mean when you’re a little too late,” and yet the lyric applies to financial affairs just as well as to affairs of the heart. Love letters and letters of intent (alongside all other estate planning documents) lose all their value if not prepared on time and yet this isn’t all the 11-time Grammy Award-winning artist has to teach you about protecting your assets.
Swift is famous, rich, and prolific which makes her a magnet for lawsuits. For years, she has endured a slew of people coming out of the woodwork claiming she has defrauded them in some way or other. Apparent co-writers file for millions insisting they were denied credit; real estate brokers appear asserting they were robbed of commissions; disgruntled radio hosts seek damages for allegedly false accusations. And all of this has taught her more than a little bit about protecting her worth.
Four Swift Tips for Protecting Your Assets
1. Know Your Worth
When Swift removed her catalog from Spotify, she made a statement about her sense of self-worth. Her decision came in response to the industry juggernaut not adequately compensating artists. “Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for,” explained Swift.
While your personal value may not number in the hundreds of millions it matters all the same—especially to your loved ones. No matter the size of your estate, your age, or your station, those nearest to you care deeply about your life’s work. An estate plan furnishes you with the tools to protect this legacy and ensure it is safely passed to the next generation.
2. Be Yourself
Swift has evolved and changed throughout her career but has always remained authentic. Her music provides her fans insight into her personal life, allowing them to see parts of who she truly is.
Your estate plan should likewise provide insight into your authentic wishes and goals.
When you die intestate, or without so much as a will, your assets are distributed according to state laws. Inevitably, loved ones suffer as no regard is given to what you (or they) may have wanted. An estate plan, on the other hand, puts your authentic intentions in writing and ensures they are fulfilled when you pass.
The Swift who once opened for Brad Paisley has nothing to do with the Swift of the Reputation Stadium Tour. She grew immensely in the ten years between 2007 and 2017 and, chances are, you did, too.
A decade allows for plenty of big changes. Children arrive, loves comes (and sometimes goes), families expand, fortunes rise and fall and in response, your estate plan needs to remain up to date. Often, this means starting with a simple will + advanced directives when you turn 18 and adding or revising as your assets and affections develop.
4. Pace Yourself
Every adult needs an estate plan but that doesn’t mean you need to draft one overnight.
Swift has spent decades curating her aesthetic and brand, reinventing herself numerous times. Executing an estate plan doesn’t take this long but it does take time. Not only do you need to catalog your life, but you also need to think carefully about how to distribute your wealth and how to talk to your loved ones about your reasoning. While this doesn’t always happen fast, an experienced estate planning attorney helps ensure the process is streamlined and efficient.