Do you know what to do if you win the lottery? A lawyer gives his advice
It really is did turn out to be your lucky day. Whether you bought a physical ticket or played a online lottery game, you actually won money playing the lottery! But what are the next steps when you win the lottery, especially when it comes to six, seven or eight figure prizes?
After the first wave of celebrations is over, you will be wondering about your instant fortune. It doesn’t matter if it’s mind boggling Powerball jackpot, Mega Millions or some other small victory.
A life-changing amount of money requires informed decision-making and professional advice. When you earn the lottery, that can make you a target of scams and possible prosecution. For this reason, it is important to consider hire a lawyer.
After the excitement and shock of holding the winning ticket, choosing a lawyer and asking the right questions can be overwhelming. Eric Pritchard, a company based in Philadelphia lawyer at Fisher Broyles, brings more than 30 years of expertise on the subject.
What to do after winning the lottery?
Pritchard advises taking adequate measures to protect the winning ticket and your anonymity. You should put the ticket in a safe, if possible. Pritchard also recommends limiting the number of people who know you’ve won.
Hire the right lawyer after you win the lottery
There are few “lottery lawyers” for the simple reason; there are not enough potential customers winning lotteries.
However, what should these clients look for when choosing a lawyer after having earned a considerable amount of money?
“What you don’t want to do is hire a lawyer who even suggests he takes a percentage of your earnings. If this is the approach taken by the lawyer, find another one immediately, ”Pritchard said.
“Here’s a dirty little secret that I learned as a young lawyer: clients and potential clients rarely know who really good lawyers are just because clients can’t see behind the curtain. If you are winning the lottery and want good legal representation, interview multiple lawyers and don’t be afraid to ask good questions.
Questions to ask potential lottery lawyers:
- What live do you have in this area of law?
- Have you represented other clients with similar legal needs? If so, how did the performance go?
- Can I speak with a client / former client for a reference?
- What do you think my legal needs are you now that i hit the jackpot?
- What is your hourly rate?
- Who else in your office will be working on this issue? What will they do and what is their hourly rate?
- Can the work be performed on a dish fresh? If so, what work is needed?
Pritchard also recommends to interview more than one or two candidates.
“Don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. It’s your money and lawyers are expensive. Make sure you defend yourself. It is an important decision. Be thorough.
Research to do before hiring a lawyer:
- Google the lawyer before you call and see what information is available.
- Check with the state licensing authority. Has the lawyer already been sanctioned? Many state licensing authorities now maintain an online database of attorneys and their disciplinary records.
Confidence and personality count in choosing a lawyer
Pritchard raises another point before hiring a lawyer; make sure like the lawyer, feel reliable and to your best interests in the heart. After all, you will be working closely with this person for a period of time under pressure.
“If there’s a question on your mind, trust yourself and move on. There are plenty of good lawyers. And lots of bad too. Be careful.”
How Much Lottery Winning Does It Take to Hire a Lawyer?
Obviously, Powerball jackpots require a lawyer. But what about the other wins? Is there a certain number that should trigger a call to a lawyer?
Here’s what Pritchard says:
“There is no magic number in deciding when to hire a lawyer. You can have bigger legal needs at $ 1 million than someone else can have at $ 10 million. A good lawyer will pay their fees multiple times just because lawyers often know where many of the potholes are and how best to avoid them. If you are making millions of dollars, you should hire a good lawyer quickly. A good lawyer can be invaluable in terms of or helping you navigate the prize claim process and helping you decide how you want to navigate your way through the “winnings” process.
A windfall of a large sum of money will most likely be the most important financial moment from a person’s life and perhaps from the life of children and grandchildren.
“It can be difficult to navigate these kinds of situations if you’ve never experienced them before. Don’t underestimate the knowledge, experience, foresight and independence that a good lawyer brings.
Other things to consider before hiring a lawyer for winning the lottery:
- Are you worried that others will try to claim some of the prize money?
- Will long-lost “zombie” parents come forward to take as much of your earnings as possible?
- Is everyone now asking you for money?
- How can you limit your taxes on your lottery winnings?
Safeguards against scams and frivolous lawsuits
Winning the lottery should be a happy time. So, it can be especially difficult for you to say “no”.
Pritchard explains that a good lawyer knows how to say “no” and make it stick. In addition, they are a “shield” for customers.
“When I represent my clients, I often act as a ‘bad cop,’ telling the other party what the client will or will not accept and why. Blaming it on the lawyer is an age-old strategy. This is what we are here for. Let your lawyer earn his fees. Others may get mad at the lawyer, not you.
About your lottery winnings
When you are earning a large amount of money, a qualified lawyer and other professionals can offer you various options to resolve a number of issues.
the key questions on lottery winnings surround the best ways to preserve winnings:
- Annuity or lump sum payment (Pritchard says, “Money is king!”)?
- What are your best investment strategies?
- What measures are necessary to ensure your heirs are supported ?
- Should you set up a trust or one business to protect your assets?
- Can you claim the prize without being required to participate in a lottery press conference? Should you attend the press conference? (Pritchard asks this question: “What’s the benefit of parading in front of cameras?”
A knowledgeable lawyer will be able to advise you on the legal impact as you navigate the process of winning the lottery.
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You might need more than a lawyer
A qualified lawyer is not the only professional you will need after winning the lottery. However, an experienced lawyer should have a network of other high-level professionals such as accountants, investment advisers and even security. All can work with your lawyer to protect the interests of the client.
“You need to build a team of top professionals who can advise you and help you through the earning process. A good lawyer will protect you and your family from others who are interested in getting your money.