Here are some pieces of advice for you on how to claim the grand prize:
David Quilty of Money Crashers recommends hiring a team of professionals.
You probably aren’t a tax attorney, a family planning attorney, or a licensed accountant. When you win a lottery jackpot, you need to surround yourself with professionals. Hire yourself a good attorney who is well-versed in financial issues, as well as a solid fee-based financial advisor and a CPA.
Then what you want to do is start hiring your professionals. You want to call a lawyer for sure—I am talking about if you win $1 million or more, you should do this stuff. Call an attorney, a financial planner, an accountant––that’s the team you’re gonna need. Obviously the bigger the jackpot, the more necessary it is to get a team like that. Get your team in place, keep quiet, and don’t tell anybody.
Find a good attorney to guide you through the initial steps and who can introduce you to others as needed. And at a minimum, you will also want a CPA and a Certified Financial Planner who have experience guiding clients who have received sudden money.
Take The Annuity or The Lump Sum
We are familiar with people who win big windfall from the lottery and then lose them so quickly. To preserve your fortune, Josh Barro of The New York Times recommends taking the annuity rather than the cash option for lottery winners. So, no matter what stupid decisions you make this year, you’ll have an enormous check waiting for you next year – all the way until the end of your annuity year.
Nick Holeman, a certified financial planner at Betterment, recommends taking the annuity option:
If you get a huge lump sum, it’s easier to make a mistake, whereas if you choose the annuity, then at least if you mess up and blow the first year’s worth, you have another chance.
You’ll want your accountant and financial advisor to review both options and discuss the pros and cons of each.
Rules on winner publicity vary by state. In New York, for example, winners’ names are a public record. Elsewhere it may be possible to maintain your anonymity by setting up a trust or limited liability company to receive the winnings, says Beth C. Gamel, a CPA with Pillar Financial Advisors in Waltham, MA. A client of Gamel’s who won a past lottery did that, and had a lawyer claim the prize on behalf of the trust. In South Carolina, it’s also possible to remain anonymous.