Sudden Wealth

I just won the lottery or inherited a large sum of money. Now what do I do?

Don't tell anybody and hire an attorney to help form your team of trusted professional advisers.

If you won or inherited a large sum of money (i.e., $1 million or more), the first thing you should do is tell no one, hire an attorney, a trusted financial adviser and an accountant. This will be your team to guide and help prepare you for this life-changing event. You will soon have the money to afford the planning and advice that may have once been out of reach. Don't be "penny-wise and pound-foolish" in the planning stage. Having a team you trust in place will help put your mind at ease for all the things that follow.

The attorneys of Adler Wellikoff, have a deep network of trusted professional advisers they can recommend to help round out your team if the advisers you have been dealing with previously, if any, are not well-suited to help with your newfound wealth.

You should also consider stealthily closing your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and any dating sites you may be on, especially if you won the lottery for a sum of many millions of dollars. If your name is made public, anyone with a social media account can begin checking out your photos of family and friends and your past posts to learn as much as they can about you.

Do you want the world to know or would you prefer to remain anonymous?

If you have won the lottery, with your newly formed team of professional advisers in place, you will need decide how you want to claim the winning prize. Each state is different when it comes to the process for claiming your prize.

If you do not want to remain anonymous, you can typically sign the back of the lottery ticket in your name, present it to the lottery commission to begin the claims process and be prepared for friends, relatives, fraudsters and everyone in between looking for your help financially.

If you would like remain anonymous, the other thing you could choose to do in many states is set up a trust or an entity and sign the back of the ticket in the name of that trust or entity. These can usually be set up relatively quickly, but you need time to make the determination in consultation with your team of advisers.

Below are additional things you will need to consider:

  • Make sure the winning lottery ticket is secure in a safe place, such as a bank safety deposit box, while you are deciding how to claim the prize. The winning lottery ticket is a bearer instrument and generally whoever signs it and presents it to the lottery commission has the right to the prize.
  • Set up a financial plan and do not purchase any big-ticket items until you are comfortable with how you can make this newfound wealth last for the rest of your life and for your children and grandchildren or your favorite charitable causes.
  • Set up an estate plan with any necessary life insurance.
  • Consider hiring security or moving to a more secure location either temporarily or permanently.

Have Questions About Sudden Wealth? We Have Answers.

Contact the lawyers at Adler Wellikoff in Boca Raton, Florida, at 800-453-5799 or send us an email.