/Mega Millions and Powerball are over a Billion–Here’s What to Do if you Win

Mega Millions and Powerball are over a Billion–Here’s What to Do if you Win

If you are the lucky winner in a big lottery draw, you are almost certain to face a new set of scary life-changing challenges.

We recommend complete anonymity, but right now only a handful of states let you cash in anonymously. Most places, you have to jump through a series of complicated financial hoops to protect yourself from friends, family, and paparazzi.

Robert Pagliarini at Forbes recommends:

There are a lot of misconceptions and potential problems with blind trusts. Federal officeholders, such as senators or governors, are required to either fully disclose all their financial holdings and any possible conflicts of interest, or place their holdings in a blind trust with a financial institution as the trustee. To prevent the perception that they are voting on legislation from which they could personally benefit, their assets are managed independently and by a third party, without their knowledge or control (i.e., the politician is blind to their investments). But you’re not a politician and you don’t want to give up control of your assets to someone else.

Recently, the term blind trust has grown to include a trust or entity that attempts to hide the true ownership from the public and asset searches. In this case, “blind” refers not to the owner of the trust but to everyone else.

Here you create an entity, a trust or LLC, and name it something other than your name. For example, one of my actor clients titled his trust using an obscure quote from a former president of the United States. Unlike a politician’s blind trust, he has 100% control of the trust, assets, and decisions. This doesn’t completely cloak the account, but it can make tying the trust to my client more difficult in an asset search. For example, Louise White, the winner of a $210 million lottery, named her trust the “Rainbow Sherbert Trust” after the ice cream flavor that led her to the grocery store where she purchased the winning ticket.

For high profile lottery winners who want even greater anonymity, a trust within a trust structure is recommended. This is an advanced strategy that should only be taken with competent and experienced legal counsel.

Here’s hoping you win! And don’t let your luck ruin your life.