Estate Planning and Winning the Lottery


By Alexandra Smyser

Lotto fever hit America last week with a Powerball jackpot of $1.5 billion up for grabs. Chances are you didn’t win the jackpot (I didn’t!), but it sure is fun to think about what you would do with $1.5 billion dollars. What people don’t often think about is how coming into a large sum of money, whether from the lottery, an inheritance or a legal settlement, impacts your estate plan.

Large sums of money can be a blessing and a curse. Proper management can ensure that you and your family are taken care of for the long term. The early intervention of professional financial advisers cannot be stressed enough. Without the guidance of experienced advisors your newfound wealth can be gone as quickly as it arrived.

If you already have an estate plan, check in with your attorney when you receive a large chunk of money. Likely, your plan already allows for additional assets to be added, but a significant amount of money may have an impact on your estate tax liability. Moreover, your attorney likely has some ideas for asset protection and perhaps even minimizing your income tax exposure.

If you haven’t done any planning, now is the time to find an experienced attorney who can help you with the proper documents that will allow you to manage your assets, protect yourself and provide for those who are dependent on you. With the acquisition of additional assets comes the responsibility to protect them in the event of your incapacity or death.

In addition to an Estate Planning attorney, it is wise to get advice from a financial planner and an accountant. Investment in your team of professionals will give you the peace of mind of knowing that your assets will be there for you and for your family for years to come.