You have most likely seen the record-breaking amounts of the Mega Millions and Powerball lottery jackpots in the last couple of weeks. The grand prizes have reached over a billion dollars. You have also probably heard stories of lottery winners who ended up dealing with a nightmare after their name became public.
Fortunately, Ohio is one of the few states that allows someone to claim their lottery ticket anonymously. If you are luck enough to win the jackpot, the first thing you should do is call an attorney who specializes in estate planning matters. The attorney will be able to help you set up what is called a "blind trust" or "naked trust". This type of trust will not have your name in the title or list you as the trustee (the person responsible for managing the trust). By listing a third party as the trustee (along with the trust having a name that doesn't disclose your name, such as "The R Trust #2"), the information that is disclosed to the public does not allow anyone to figure out your true identity. In many instances, your estate planning attorney can serve as the trustee for you.
The third party trustee will be in charge of going to the local lottery office, filling out the paperwork, and claiming the winnings on your behalf. Once the check is deposited into your trust, you have the option of either changing the trustee or dissolving this trust all-together and transferring the money to your own personal trust. However, this transfer is done privately, and you will then have full access to your winnings. No one will be the wiser!
If you or someone you know has questions about estate planning (including winning the lottery), please call The Rosenbauer Law Office, LLC at 513-463-6789 today!