SOUTHCOAST ESTATE PLANNING BLOG
With all the MegaMillions and lottery-winning news lately, my wife and I were hanging out on our porch here in Massachusetts one night imagining what we might do if we won the lottery. We ran through the usual litany of the things we’d do – buy a vacation home, travel, get matching convertibles, and maybe give some money to the kids.
Then my wife quipped about all the long-lost relatives and friends who’d come out of the woodwork when they heard the news about our lucky fortune. As you may know, when you win the lottery and go collect your winnings, the Massachusetts Lottery Commission actually publishes your name and picture on its website and you’ll likely be featured in the local and even national news.
So How Do You Keep Your Name Out of the Public Eye?
Well, I’ve got some fantastic news to share that’ll help keep lottery winnings hush-hush. You see, here in Massachusetts, we have this nifty trick to help lottery winners maintain their privacy: they’re called trusts!
Now, I know how important it is for you to keep your name out of the spotlight. So, by setting up a trust, we can put a shield around your identity. Instead of your name being plastered all over, it’s the trust’s name and its trustee that gets all the limelight because Massachusetts is one of those states that actually allows trustees to collect the winnings off a lottery ticket.
How the “Lottery Trust” Works
Here’s how it works. You go to your trusty legal counselor with your winning ticket or “scratcher” – yes, this will work even if you score $4 million on a scratch ticket. You have your lawyer draft up a trust with you as the beneficiary. Then, you name your lawyer as your trustee while keeping the right to remove him or her later. Your trustee then goes to the Lottery Commission and claims the prize. His or her name and picture end up on the website.
When the funds are collected, your Trustee deposits them in a trust bank account. Then, you remove your Trustee and replace yourself (or anyone else you want to manage your money for you). Now you’re back in control of your winnings and you’ve kept your identity out of the news. How great is that?
Now, here’s an important point to remember – do NOT sign your personal name on the back of the lottery ticket. If you do, you’ll mess up this little system because you’ll then have to collect it personally. Instead, set up your trust, name your trustee, and have the trustee sign the ticket.
By taking this route, you’ll be able to avoid unnecessary prying eyes, protect your personal details, and dodge those never-ending requests for handouts that come with being a public lottery winner. Your privacy is my top priority, and I’m here to make sure your identity and wealth stay safe and sound.
Learning More About “Lottery Trusts”
If you’re lucky enough to hit on a lottery ticket or scratcher and you’d like to learn more about how we can help you protect your privacy, just reach out to us. We’re all here to help!