Greenberg Traurig’s private client/high net worth team has the experience to advise mega-lottery winners. Our attorneys have worked with individuals who have won some of the biggest lottery awards in the United States.
Our approach to advising lottery winner clients is based on three basic principles:
- Family privacy, security, and freedom from publicity
- Tax and estate planning
- Financial planning
In most instances we are the initial point of contact for our lottery winner clients. The first step is to assess the family situation and to explain to the clients what their options are:
- When do I turn in my lottery ticket, and how do I protect it before doing so?
- What are the client’s security concerns?
- Are there minor children?
- Which family member purchased the lottery ticket?
- Do the clients have an estate plan in place?
The next step is to assemble the team of advisors:
- Financial Advisors
- Security Advisors
Turning in Your Lottery Ticket
In most states such as California, the name of the lottery winner must be disclosed. For this reason, the timing of turning in the lottery ticket is important. If the award is in the millions, it is important to minimize the publicity once the ticket is surrendered. Most states provide that the lottery winner must surrender the winning ticket within twelve months. This provides ample time for the winner and the members of the winner’s family to take the steps described above.
For rewards in the tens of millions, it is important to select the right financial advisor. Greenberg Traurig’s team has worked with most of the major financial institutions in the United States. We generally recommend a “beauty contest,” i.e., setting up meetings with a select number of such financial institutions so that the lottery winner clients can learn about financial planning options as well as to assess the level of comfort that they have with the members of the team(s) that will provide financial and investment advice. For example, a “balanced portfolio,” i.e., a mix of bonds and equities, is usually considered where the lottery award is in the tens of millions.
We can answer many of the questions that winners might have either in person of via teleconference. We can also meet with the individual winner(s) and members of their families for an initial consultation.