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A Lottery Lawyer Explains What You Should Do if You Hit the Jackpot

The best part about buying a lottery ticket is dreaming about what you’d do if you won. We’ve learned from previous winners that the excitement of seeing your numbers come up can cause you to screw up the entire dream. Big lottery winners have ended up broke, lonely, or even dead because of the sudden windfall. To keep this from happening to you, you should first hire a lawyer. That’s the advice from a lawyer who specializes in lottery winnings, as you may have guessed. It’s good advice anyway. Paying experts to look out for your best interests is a wise investment. But there’s some things you should know before you even have a chance to talk to an expert.  

Can you explain the benefit of putting it in an entity or a trust?

First of all, if you can preserve any kind of anonymity, you wanna do that. You wanna limit your exposure. So a lot of the winners choose to form a trust just for that purpose, so that the name of the winner is gonna be the trust. So if you're looking up in the past who won $300 million two years ago, it's gonna say the name of the trust rather than your name. Because people are gonna look for you whether it's for handouts, charities, investment opportunities, whatever.

It's interesting you say you shouldn't tell people about it. It's a stupid idea to put it on social media, obviously.

Oh, forget it. If you win like a large jackpot––I think it's $300 million this week––the first thing you've got to do is shut down your Facebook because even if you don't write on social media that you won, your name is gonna come out, and everyone is gonna be looking at pictures of you and your family. So just get it off the internet.

Read the rest of the interview at Vice.

(Image credit: Flickr user Iain Watson)

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You should not need a lottery specialist lawyer. Interview "Trust and Estate" lawyers. Ask them how many clients they have with however much money you just won. Then as for three references.
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