Most people dream of becoming instant millionaires, but 3 lucky people have become MEGA-millionaires after winning last month's Mega Millions jackpot worth $656 million!
Let's pretend for a moment that one of those winners was you. First, take a moment to scream then take a deep breath and then run as fast as you can to your nearest estate planning attorney. Wait, what??? Maybe that sound silly, but before claiming your prize there are some things you need to think about beforehand.
Most states have laws that do not allow lottery winners to remain anonymous. And the lottery commission must release the names and details of the winners to whomever requests it. This might sound ludicrous, but that is just the way the game is played, so to speak. So, what can an estate planning attorney do for you to help keep your anonymity? They may be able to create a trust instrument that can accept the lottery winnings on your behalf without releasing your actual name, that's what. Then the winnings can be held in the trust and managed by a trustee who will invest the assets for your benefit. This way your personal details are kept far away from prying eyes and avoids long lost friends and relatives showing up at your door reminding you how much they've been 'worth' to you.
So, if you've hit it mega-big, or just moderately big, consider consulting with a professional Estate Planning Attorney immediately before running off to collect your prize. With a good trust you can maintain your privacy and continue to be a winner for the rest of your life.
*This blog entry was not written by an Attorney and should not be constituted as professional legal advice.