Whenever the purse of any lottery game gets large, more tickets get sold. Most people realize that your odds of winning are no greater with one ticket or 20. But if your numbers ever do come up or you suddenly have money or assets that you didn’t have yesterday, these are some steps you may consider to protect yourself before cashing the check.
Let’s first get our arms around the concept of just how much did you get, and compare that to how much you need.
If your gain is substantially higher than any amount that you could possibly spend, including bucket list stuff, then you should ask what other options you may have. It would be worth a few hours to run the numbers as this may help solve other issues later.
For example, if you are about to receive $25 million and the math shows that you’d live beyond your wildest dreams with only $10 million, you can plan for the excess. Leaving it in your name may only cause unnecessary death taxes upon your passing and also cause your income tax bill to rise due to earnings from the assets. Your options would be to include other beneficiaries in an entity to reduce the ultimate size of your future taxable estate or carve out a nice chunk for charities.
The next step may be asset protection against lawsuits and predators, income and estate taxes, and money grubbing friends and relatives. You can start your protection by establishing an entity to receive the winnings rather than cashing the check made payable to you personally. This entity could be a trust or a limited liability company, or LLC, where you can draft the terms so that it can protect against the perils that may of concern in your particular situation.
The entity itself will not necessarily protect your assets, it is the type of entity and the extent to which you control the asset inside the entity. To gain maximum protection you would need to have your access limited. Those limits can be imposed by the document itself and then by any trustee or manager of the organization that you select.
So you don’t risk never having access, you can build a provision inside the documents that gives you the authority to replace your fiduciary if you want.
The statistics for those who receive large sums of money unexpectedly are not very pretty. Whether it is the assets inherited by a young person eager to live life to the fullest or the lottery winner who suddenly becomes penniless after the 20 years of payments stop, the inclination to spend every red cent and not plan for the future is irresistible to many. If this is you, and you know in advance that you’ll have trouble planning, you can set up these assets in such a way that you can protect yourself and other family members from excessive spending.