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Do I Need a Lawyer If I Win the Lottery?

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. | Last updated on

You can afford it. Hire a lawyer now that you have that lottery money. In fact, be smart and do it before you collect. For people who owe money in certain states, that is practically a requirement.

Winning the lottery is amazing, obviously. Money will solve a lot of problems, like debt. But having such cash means you need expert money management. It's not that more money necessarily means more problems; however, having a counselor -- or two -- is critical to safeguarding and making the most of your lottery loot.

Collecting and Collections

People who owe child support will be especially relieved when they win the lottery. But beware, in some states -- like Illinois -- you may have to fight to collect. Winnings will be withheld for past due support. And that is just one reason to hire a lawyer before the process begins.

You have to decide how to receive your winnings, whether annually, in a lump sum, or another arrangement. Each option will have different advantages and disadvantages for tax and other purposes. Talking to a lawyer about your goals and immediate needs will ensure that you make good decisions about how to receive your winnings.

Welcome to Your Estate

An estate attorney can help you plan for the future. That is especially important now that you have assets to guard. Counsel can set up trusts for you and your loved ones, advise you on how to most wisely acquire property, and ensure that your holdings are not vulnerable.

A lawyer can also counsel you when there is pressure from friends and family and you don't know what to do. Lottery winners might find that relationships are strained by their new financial situation.

Having a trusted adviser who has no personal interest in the winnings (and would prefer for you to remain rich for professional reasons) is important. Every old friend you forgot you had could show up with a scheme or a dream for you to invest in.

But counsel will not bow to pressure to be nice and will ensure you don't get involved in bad investments. And if your friends complain, just blame it on your lawyer.

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