A lottery win is something that all players dream of, but a win is many different things to many different people. For some it’s a key; a key that unlocks the shackles of their debts, their obligations and the job in which they’ve spent years wasting away. For others, it’s a passport that unlocks the world and all its myriad riches and wonders. The path to a trip around the world in which they can savor the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of other cultures and nations. For others, it’s simply an opportunity to provide a better future for their children or grandchildren.
When players play the lottery online and win, there's a lot that comes with those millions.
Let’s face it, no player knows for sure how they’ll react when one of those dream-granting machines spits out ball after ball in their favour. Past players have found that a win brings with it unparalleled joy, for sure, but it can also bring with it certain challenges and obstacles. That’s why lottery winners turn to an expert mind; a man with years of experience helping lottery winners come to terms with their sudden and unexpected wealth. That man is attorney Jason Kurland, who is considered the lawyer of choice for nascent winners who want to get the most out of their win. In an interview with Vice, Jason explains his work with lottery winners and how his services can help players when those numbers roll in. This two-part article shares some of Jason’s pearls of wisdom;
Q: How did you fall into this very particular aspect of law?
A: Very much by accident. Around 5 years ago I was contacted by a lottery winner in Connecticut who worked for a client of mine. He wasn’t sure where to turn and so my client recommended me as somebody he could trust. We offer estate planning services and the like and we worked with him for a month or so after he claimed his winnings.
The incident was fairly well publicised and after this, the office started getting calls from lottery winners all over the country looking for help with lottery related legal issues.
What’s the first thing you should do when you discover that you have a winning lottery ticket?
The absolute first thing you should do is sign the back of it. A winning ticket is what is called a ‘bearer instrument’. This means that it belongs to whomever it is handed to. The act of signing it secures it as your own. It’s also a good idea to leave some space on the back should you wish to claim it in a trust fund or LLC.
Then secure it in a safety deposit box or hidden somewhere in your house. Your next step should be to start securing your legal team. If you have a big win you’re likely to need a lawyer, a financial planner and an accountant.
For the time being, keep the news within your immediate family circle. The more people know, the quicker your life will change. Take some time before deciding what to do with the money; because your knee-jerk reaction is rarely what you really want to do with it. It’s far easier to figure out what you want to do when you don’t have everyone you know banging on your door looking for a handout.
Check out the next part of this article which deals with trusts, social media, instant celebrity and what makes some lottery winners go broke…