Hitting the lottery is a life-changing event – a dream come true. Managing your lottery winnings the right way can prevent that dream from becoming a nightmare. Handled properly, you, your family, and your heirs can live in financial bliss for many years. Here are some suggestions to enjoy your new lifestyle.
In the Public Eye
Winners of major Massachusetts Lottery prizes are required to have their picture taken by lottery officials. The picture, along with the winner’s name and hometown, will appear in local newspapers – in print and on their websites – as well as the lottery’s website. The winners can become instant celebrities, not always in a good way.
Friends, relatives (some you may not have seen for years or knew you had) and strangers can come out of the woodwork wanting to be your best friend and looking for financial help. You may also be inundated with requests from charities and organizations seeking donations.
Upon hearing you won a huge lottery payout, it’s natural wanting to rush to claim the windfall. Be patient. Stop and think. Lay low for a few days. Keep the winning ticket in a secure place.
Get Professional Help
The first order of business should be contacting an attorney experienced in dealing with lottery winners. An attorney can help with the process of claiming the prize, protecting your identity, and setting up a long-term plan to manage the winnings. Legal and financial help will go a long way in protecting your winnings, your privacy, and even your sanity.
Managing the Lottery Winnings
Forbes suggests avoiding drastic lifestyle changes in the first several months of winning: don’t quite your job, don’t buy a luxury car or a huge home, or invest in something that may be too good to be true. Here are some things you should do:
- Pay off debts – Being free of mortgage, credit card, and loan debt is the best investment you can make
- Invest wisely – Have an attorney establish an investment portfolio and be wary of scams
- Set a budget – Even though you are wealthy, avoid the temptation of a wild spending spree and live on the interest as much as you can
- Create an Estate Plan – Should you pass without a Will in place, your family or heirs could be in for a long legal battle
- Donate to charities – Set up a donation plan to charities to take advantage of tax exemptions
- Protect your assets – Set up a Trust or multiple Trusts to create a barrier from those looking for a piece of your wealth
We are here to Help
We at SKB Law have represented dozens of lottery winners, protecting their privacy and helping them manage their windfall. Don’t go at it alone. Let us help you through the process to assure your anonymity and protect your winnings. SKB Attorneys have represented dozens of clients at the lottery – more times than any other law firm in Massachusetts.