by Shann M. Chaudhry
This blog was originally posted on October 15, 2018.
The winnings for Mega Millions and Powerball each rose twice since then to $1.6 Billion and $620 Million, respectively, for a combined total of $2.2 Billion.
ADVISORY: THIS IS NOT COMPREHENSIVE LEGAL ADVICE, BUT GENERAL THOUGHTS. PLEASE SEEK ADVICE FROM YOUR TRUSTED LEGAL & FINANCIAL PROFESSIONALS.
Summer has ended. The weekend is over. It’s Monday, October 15, 2018. I’m sure that you, like most of us, have been suffering from a “bad case of the Mondays” today. Not only is it an unseasonably cold, gloomy day in San Antonio, Texas, it’s also the deadline for 2017 Tax Returns that were extended. You may have to write Uncle Sam a check. We’re also about 45 days away from Thanksgiving. So, what’s your motivation?
Well, I can’t lie I spend a little bit of time day dreaming.
Yesterday, I was driving back into town and I stopped for gas and a drink. As I was checking out, I noticed the electronic marquee sign in the convenience store: TEXAS LOTTERY MEGA MILLIONS: JACKPOT EST. $654 MILLION DOLLARS. TEXAS LOTTERY POWER BALL: JACKPOT EST. $345 MILLION DOLLARS. I blinked. I refocused, verifying that I read it correctly. I then did something I don’t normally do. I pulled my wallet back out and put four dollars on the counter. I kindly requested one of each ticket. I know, I know. The odds next to nil. My chance of winning the MEGA MILLIONS is one in 302.6 million. My chance of winning the MEGA MILLIONS is one in 292 million. I honestly didn’t shuck out the 4 dollars for the chance. I, like many of you have spent some time, daydreaming of what I would do with the money. I had a two-hour drive, so honestly, what else was I going to do? My analytical brain started working on the Asset Protection Plan. What would I do if I won? What follows below is a general outline. It is not comprehensive, but I’ve broken it down into six steps.
Step 1. Wait. Sign the back of your ticket. Put the ticket in a Safe or Safety Deposit Box. Do not claim the prize immediately. Both prizes can be claimed months after the drawing. Some states require that the prizes be claimed publicly in person. Enlist the help of a trusted attorney. They will help you hire an A-List Team of Advisers.
Step 2. Don’t tell a soul. Do not tell anyone. ANYONE. Typically, all sorts of people come out of the woodwork with their hands out. Distant and estranged family, old business partners, friends, colleagues, your college roommate you borrowed money from in 1997.
Step 3. Hire Trusted Legal Counsel with Experience working with Large Estates. This is not the job for your Uncle Bob, the family law attorney. You need to find an excellent attorney that deals with wealthy clients. They will help you put together a solid plan, non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements, and help put together a team of top-quality Professionals. They may be able to help you trick the system to somewhat anonymously claim your prize.
Step 4. Assemble a Team of Estate Planning & Asset Protection Attorneys, Tax Attorneys, Investment Professionals, and Insurance Professionals, etc. Ideally your attorney should have a good network of professionals to come up with a comprehensive strategy. You may have to relocate your domicile for income tax purposes. Estate Taxes, Gift Taxes, and Generation Skipping Taxes: all will be an issue. The attorneys will work together to make sure you have diversified your assets into different protection structures. The financial professionals will make sure you are properly investing your money, based on your goals, dreams, and legacy.
Step 5. Claim your prize. Coordinate with your team and implement your plan.
Step 6. Live your dreams. Live your dreams with the peace of mind that you did things the right way.
So, what are your dreams? You don’t have to win the Mega-millions jackpot to plan for them. Let us know in the comments section below.
Call your Estate Planning & Asset Protection Professional to plan for your family’s future.