People strive for attention and even those who joined the club of millionaires by winning a lottery jackpot like the idea of being the focal point of attention. The media are happy to indulge and this is why many regular people find themselves celebrities overnight, without thinking about all the downsides of excessive media exposure. There are a few arguments in favor of claiming lottery winnings anonymously and those who choose to avoid unnecessary exposure should know which are the proper steps to take.
Weigh the pros and cons of publicity
Any lottery winner should take a couple of days to reflect on what just happened before claiming the money, and think about the advantages and downsides of media exposure. If this process is done properly, most players will reach the conclusion that it is much better to take and spend the lottery winnings anonymously. The only advantage is that regular people who spend their lives in the shadows of others get their 15 minutes of fame and everyone is talking about them for a couple of days at least.
The downside is that once your name is out, pretty much every friend and distant relative will ask for financial support and some can be very persistent. Add to this the huge number of strangers who are attracted by lottery winnings and overwhelm the lucky players with an avalanche of requests. Some of them are well-founded and the winners will be tempted to lend a helping hand, but most of them are nothing more than spam. It is a time-consuming and extremely stressful process to go through these letters and requests, and ignoring them is virtually impossible given how persistent these people are.
Keep it secret, keep it safe
Players should refrain from informing friends and lottery officials right away and most importantly they should stay away from the media. One smart trick that players should do before collecting their lottery winnings is to make a copy of the ticket and mail it to themselves. This will act as a proof that they are the rightful winners, while the original should be kept in a safe place while making sure that the deadline for claiming the prize is met.
Very few of the lottery winners have the legal and financial training to handle such a situation and that is why they should get in touch with a lawyer specialized in estate planning and asset protection. Such a professional can tell you which are your alternatives and how you could claim your lottery winnings anonymously. Setting up a trust is not an easy thing to do but a necessary action, something that the lawyer can also help you with. Don’t be cheap and hire a good one, then follow his instructions to the letter, to avoid any potentially costly mistakes while keeping your involvement minimal.
Check out What are the best ways to invest lottery winnings as well.
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June 13, 2013 | by Jonathan White |