How do I collect a lottery win anonymously in Massachusetts? Also after setting up a trust to collect can I remain anonymous?

Asked over 1 year ago - Cambridge, MA

Remaining anonymous after a win is very crucial. Not only a new found money can bring a lot of issues, it can also be disruptive to the winner if proper measures are not taken to protect one's own identity from any type of unwanted attention. With that in mind, I'm curious to know how that would be handled and what the desired outcome is. Setting up a revocable blind trust seems to be the most common route. My question is, how effective of a tool is this when trying to collect a prize? Also, afterwards the challenge still remains. What steps can be taken in order to accomplish the goal of remaining anonymous? Can a legal action be taken if a client's privacy has been compromised by the release of their info to the public? Thanks in advance and thanks for all you do on here.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Scott D Rosenberg

    Contributor Level 15

    5

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . There's different types of anonymous. "Anonymous so that my friends don't hound me for money" is easy. Even if you take money directly, the Lottery won't release your name publicly unless you authorize them to. They'll only tell the IRS and DOR, which will happen, in some form, no matter what you do if the winnings are significant.

    "Anonymous so that my creditors don't come after me" is trickier. You can't actively hide assets if you are being sued over a debt, but if you simply have a debt, putting the ticket in an innocuously named trust with a separate schedule of beneficiaries, such that it is hard to trace, might make it impractical for them to find, unless someone sues you and uses discovery to procure a statement of assets, which you would be legally obligated to reply to. This isn't something you would want to do without a lawyer, and that person should be able to advise you on the particulars of your situation.

    Lastly, there's "anonymous from my soon-to-be-ex / spousal support collections / child support collections." It's unlawful to conceal assets in any of these situations, so neither I nor I suspect any of my colleagues will make suggestions on the subject.

    Attorney Rosenberg is admitted to practice in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and currently practices in South-... more
  2. E. Alexandra Golden

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . As to your last question, the attorney drafting the trust has the obligation of keeping the client's confidences. There is a difference, however, between releasing information to the IRS about the identity of the client in order to address tax issues and sending out a press release that the client doesn't want.

    Also, a blind trust means that you have no knowledge about the nature of the trust's investments -- the term has nothing to do with maintaining anonymity as to the settlor or the beneficiary.

    I strongly suggest you consult with an attorney who specializes in trust law as well as a CPA.

    E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are... more
  3. Russell Boon Rhea

    Contributor Level 11

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The free answers you have received here are good starting points, but you should hire an attorney. If you just won the lottery you can certainly afford one.

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