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.
Wills and Living Wills Lawyer
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-Central Connecticut with an emphasis on estate planning, elder law, probate, and tax matters. He may be contacted confidentially by email at Scott@ScottRosenbergLaw.com or by phone at (203) 871-3830. All correspondence through this website appears publicly, is not confidential, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Atty. Rosenberg. Discretion should always be employed when posting personal information online. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ All online content provided by Atty. Rosenberg on this and other websites is provided for general informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. All content is general in nature. Attorneys are unable to ask the questions necessary to fully understand the legal issues faced by any particular poster. Postings and responses to questions only provide general insights on the topic discussed. They are not tailored to any readerâ€™s specific situation, will not be accurate in all states, and are never updated or maintained to reflect changes in the law. No person should take action based on the information provided by anyone on Avvo.com or any other law-themed website without first consulting a local attorney with significant experience in your area of concern. Persuant to Circular 230, no online content may be used by any person to avoid taxes or penalties under the Internal Revenue Code.
Elder Law Attorney
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 for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.