If you hit the jackpot and win the lottery, you’ll never have to worry about money again, right?
With good money management you could live well for many years, but from the moment you claim your prize, the temptation to squander your winnings will be ever present.
One of the first things you should do (after signing the back of the ticket) is to resist the temptation to text or call everyone you know and tell them of your good fortune, and instead make your first call one to an experienced attorney.
The Cash Prize or Annuity – Your Choice
Your first major decision will be whether to take the cash prize (the actual money in the pot) or take an annuity (the estimated value of the cash option plus whatever interest it will earn over 30 years). It might seem like a no-brainer to get it all up front and do your own investing, but your lawyer will help you see if it’s best to get 30 checks over time or one check. He will also connect you with specialists in subjects like estate planning, taxes and such.
Married couples who win a large amount of money should review estate planning issues with an attorney prior to claiming their prize. Your attorney will help determine whether you should utilize trusts, limited liability companies or even corporations. Depending on your state of domicile, each may have advantages and disadvantages in terms of taxation, as well as privacy.
Should you win the lottery, you’ll likely need many attorneys – business, tax, trusts and estate – but don’t worry about finding them all on day one. Instead, find a good attorney to guide you through the initial steps and who can introduce you to others as needed.
If you are fortunate enough to strike it big in the lottery, seriously consider contacting the experienced attorneys at O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss. Calling 701-235-8000 may be the wisest decision you can make.
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