Forget to sign a ticket or report it to the state. After doing some research, we find this is apparently the simplest and easiest error to make. Can you imagine losing a lottery ticket? Then imagine what can happen if someone else snags your ticket and shows up to collect the prize. Fighting over this is no simple task and disputes have arisen over who owns what ticket.
In a way, lottery tickets are almost considered the last form of bearer bonds that anyone collect on if they show up with the coupons and bonds.
Tell everyone you know. If you win millions of dollars, chances are pretty high that you will to want to brag about it and share some of your new joy. How could you not? The problem is that telling everyone you know before you collect your winning puts you in danger, and in more ways that just one. Everyone who has ever done anything for you now may come with their hands out asking for something, or worse. You probably have heard of kidnap and ransom insurance before. One recent lottery winner even became the victim of what appears to be murder.
If you can manage it, and if your state allows it, try to remain anonymous for as long as humanly possible. How you became vastly wealthy will be found out in time anyway, but there is no need to hurry that along.
Automatically decide to take the up-front cash. Supposedly some 70% of lottery winners end up broke again, many within a couple or few years. Let’s say that you can choose to get $172 million up front, or you can choose to receive a payout of $300 million slowly over the course of a lifetime (30 years or so). Most people choose the lump sum rather than the annuity payment. After all, it is instant empire-making money. Go see a reputable and visible tax professional and a reputable investment advisor at a top money management firm with a widely recognized company name and a long corporate history.
This theme of “reputable and visible” will echo throughout. Do this before you automatically make the decision about a lump-sum or annuity option.
Think that you are the smartest person to manage your money and finances. If you go from living paycheck to paycheck, does it sound right that you will know the best things to invest in and the best tax and asset protection strategies? There are many ways to invest and protect that fortune, and that might not include just buying some stocks and bonds and letting it ride. Your drinking buddy might also not be the best choice as an advisor and expert. Having a solid and respectable team of advisors and managers in place will act as your buffer that protects your assets now and in the future.
Do you know how to protect your assets against all threats and know exactly how to protect your estate in case you die or become incapacitated? Here is a hint – If you answered yes, you probably did not bother playing the lottery.