mfg Blog

News and Events

Anti-Hero - contentious probate element in the lyrics

View profile for Victoria Wall
  • Posted
  • Author

With Taylor Swift’s arrival in the UK on her Eras Tour, it seems like a perfect opportunity to reflect on one of her biggest hits Anti-Hero. Whilst most people would listen and simply enjoy the tune, I couldn’t help but notice a contentious probate element to the lyrics and wanted to analyse the song to see what could happen if Taylor died domiciled in England and Wales.

Taylor Swift’s Will

Firstly, Ms Swift suggests that she makes a Will, cutting out her entire family. While it is possible in England and Wales thanks to the concept of “testamentary freedom” (the ability to leave your estate however you like), there are a number of reasons we would find a Will such as this concerning.

Firstly, her family might look to challenge the Will on a few grounds. The first may be lack of testamentary capacity to make a Will. Taylor suggests that she suffers from depression, and that she “wake[s] up screaming from dreaming” and that she feels like “a monster on a hill”, which may suggest mental capacity issues which could result in her not meeting the Banks v Goodfellow test for testamentary capacity. We would expect a Will writer to check Ms Swift’s capacity when making a Will, but if she prepared it herself, there may be scope to challenge it on this ground.

The family might also look to argue that Ms Swift was subject to fraudulent calumny by an outside source (say a “lover”, or whomever benefits under the Will). Fraudulent calumny is where a person’s mind is ‘poisoned’ against others as a result of lies. The song gravitates around the idea that she believes her family all agree that she is the problem, and having noticed this (or this being drip-fed this information to her by the beneficiary under the Will). While we would need significantly more evidence supporting the idea that Taylor was being fed this information by someone, it is a ground we ought to consider from the outset.

However, I hope Taylor would seek a professional’s help to prepare and execute her Will, particularly with the size of the estate she might leave behind. A good Will writer should address all these concerns clearly in an attendance note, setting out the reasons why they believe Taylor had the requisite testamentary capacity to make a Will. The Will writer could also take one step further and obtain a medical opinion as to Taylor’s capacity.

What the family can do?

If Ms Swift died domiciled in England and Wales, and the entire family was cut out of the Will (or less than they anticipated), the family could potentially obtain reasonable financial provision from her estate under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975. They would need to demonstrate that they would be eligible to bring a claim (likely in this case either her son as Taylor’s child, or her daughter-in-law/other family member if they were financially dependent on Ms Swift in her lifetime). If they were able to demonstrate this, they would need to show that they ought to have received reasonable financial provision from Ms Swift’s Will. The court would look at all relevant issues, including the family’s financial situation, the size of Ms Swift’s estate, and any other factors they believe are relevant in making a decision.


Taylor’s main fear in the song is that her daughter-in-law murders her because the daughter-in-law believes the Will leaves her something. Hopefully it is some reassurance that if Ms Swift’s daughter-in-law were to be convicted of her murder, or manslaughter (if she made it look like an accident), it would be unlikely that she would receive anything from the Estate. This is covered by the Forfeiture Act 1982, which stops a person from benefitting from unlawfully killing someone, including under a Will.


I would suggest that Taylor instructs a professional to prepare her Will while she has capacity, and to consider whether she would want to benefit her family in some way.

However, there is clearly bad blood (pardon the pun) between them, and while Taylor can sleep soundly in the knowledge that her daughter-in-law won’t benefit if she was killed, she should consider whether she would like to specifically exclude her daughter-in-law.

Taylor could also request her solicitor draft a witness statement for her in support of the Will to formalise her thoughts and address the section 3 factors of the Inheritance Act 1975, setting out why she did not want her to benefit under the Will which is something we can assist with

Article prepared by Contentious Probate Associate, Victoria Wall. For more, please contact Victoria by calling 01562 820181 or by emailing