How to Hire a Lawyer to Manage Your Lottery Winnings
What Can a Lottery Lawyer Do for Winners?
If you win the lottery, you might think your biggest decision will be what to buy first. But the truth is, you're going to need help to ensure that you keep as much of that money as possible to spend down the road. And the first step to getting that help is to hire a lottery lawyer.
What Lottery Lawyers Do for Jackpot Winners
Big lottery winners may feel overwhelmed by the number of decisions they have to make before they even claim a jackpot.
To make things even more confusing, each of the states that participate in the lottery has its own procedures for claiming a prize and for minimizing tax liability.
A lottery lawyer is part of the advisory team that winners should put together to help them wade through the intricacies of claiming a prize without making costly mistakes. A good lottery lawyer can protect jackpot winners, their families, and their hard-won cash.
Here are some examples of things that lottery lawyers can do for jackpot winners:
In some states let lottery winners claim their prizes anonymously. Others let winners claim in the name of a business, which can reduce the publicity they have to deal with. A good lottery lawyer can help winners protect their anonymity as much as possible.
Another option that many lottery winners have is to set up a trust to claim the prize. In many cases, a trust not only helps protect the winner's identity, but it also prevents the winner from spending too much too quickly and it helps fend off requests for handouts and donations. A lottery lawyer can help determine whether a trust is advantageous for the winner and if so, can help set it up.
Putting Together a Trustworthy Advisory Team
The lottery lawyer isn't the only important team member that a new jackpot winner needs. An accountant and a financial advisor with experience in helping people deal with large windfalls are also very helpful. A lottery lawyer can help winners pick the other members of their advisory team.
Advising About Payout Options
New lottery winners need to make the decision whether to take a lump sum or an annuity payout. A lottery winner can keep them apprised about the legal and financial ramifications of their choice.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
An experienced lottery lawyer also knows the pitfalls that inexperienced lottery winners can face. Lawyers can help their clients decide the proper moment to claim a prize, how to keep their tickets safe until then, how to avoid overspending, how to manage their safety, and more. If you don't want to become a lottery curse victim, a lottery lawyer is a valuable ally who can help you create a strategy to manage your wealth safely.
Quashing Frivolous Lawsuits
Unfortunately, lottery winners can become targets for people who want to scam their way into some of their money. Frivolous lawsuits are one of the ways that unscrupulous people try to worm their way into unearned cash.
A lottery lawyer will not only defend winners from these lawsuits, but they also can anticipate the ways that winners are vulnerable and help them to avoid becoming targets.
How to Hire a Lottery Lawyer
Winners are going to be spending a lot of time with their financial team, so it's important to find someone they trust and feel comfortable with. And of course, the lawyer should know what he's doing and not be too expensive. So some of the things to consider include:
Experience: A good lottery lawyer knows the ins and outs of lottery law and has represented other big winners and people who have received unexpected financial windfalls.
Price: Even jackpot winners need to be careful not to overspend on legal fees. A more expensive lawyer isn't necessarily a better lawyer. A good lottery lawyer shouldn't offer to take a percentage of your winnings. Instead, you should settle on a reasonable hourly fee or retainer. Here are some ballpark figures for how much it costs to hire a lawyer.
Recommendations: Do some research to find out whether other clients have had good or bad experiences with any lawyers you are considering. If you don't know anyone who has used them personally, an internet search might reveal compliments or complaints. There are also databases of respected lawyers that you can use, and you can ask any lawyers that you are considering hiring to give you references.
No Disciplinary Action: If a lawyer has had disciplinary action taken against him or her, you'll want to know about it before you hire them. Luckily there are databases that let you check out the lawyers you are considering hiring so that you can look up disciplinary actions by state.
Personality: Don't overlook your emotional reaction to any lottery lawyer you are considering hiring. You need to be able to trust the lawyer you hire and to feel good about working with them. Sometimes even very good lawyers just don't mesh with your personality and vice versa, and that's fine.
Once you know what you are looking for in a lottery lawyer, interview several different candidates to make sure you are finding the proper fit.
When Should You Hire a Lottery Lawyer?
If you win a large prize in a lottery, getting a good lawyer should be a priority. You'll want to have representation before you tell anyone outside of your immediate circle of family and friends that you've won, and certainly before you claim your prize.