Just a little something that I typed up a while back. It's still a bit of a work in progress.
STRATEGY - SHARING WEALTH WITH FAMILY, WHILE PROTECTING YOUR PRIVACY AND YOUR SANITY.
1.) Start now - There are a couple of very important things about Federal Taxes that you need to be especially aware of before you give away an exceptionaly large amount of money.
- a.) IF you took CVO, the Lottery is only required to deduct 25% of the jackpot.
- b.) You will still be liable for an additional 10% off ofthe original CVO to the IRS.
- c.) Depending on where you live, you may also be liable for up to an additional 10% in State and Local taxes.
- d.) Tax free gifts are limited to $13,000 per person per year. The recipient will not be taxed but, anything over that amount is taxable to you. Figure paying 35% on top of exceptionally large gifts. If you include your spouse, you may also use their $13,000 exemption too. This means $26,000 may be given tax free to any single person.
- e.) You will not be able to split a prize and avoid the gift taxes unless you can prove that you have a prior agreement to share the prize, before you bought the winning ticket. For one way to handle this, you could type up a document stating that you plan to share a future lottery win with several individuals and get their written signature. Get it stamped and dated by a Public Notary. This lowers your chances of remaining anonymous, but it will save you a ton of money, see the rough examples below.
NOT HAVING A PRIOR WRITTEN AGREEMENT
Let's say you got a $50,000,000 CVO. The Lottery deducts 25%, equalling $12.5 Million and leaving you with $37.5 Million. Another 10% off the original CVO must go to the IRS. Deduct an additional $5 Million which leaves you with $32.5 Million. To make things easy, let's say you live in a State with no income taxes.
You have 4 relatives or friends that you want to give $5,000,000 each for a total of $20,000,000, now add on the 35% or $7,000,000 that you will be paying for gift tax. This leaves you with $5.5 Million out of the original $50 Million CVO. This is before factoring in any Attorney, Financial Planner or CPA fees.
A rough total of $24.5 Million ended up going to Federal Taxes.
HAVING A PRIOR WRITTEN AGREEMENT
Now take that same $50 Million CVO with a prior written agreement to share a total of 40% ($20 Million) of your prize among 4 people, each would recieve 10% ($5 Million). They will now be liable for for a 35% tax ($1.75 Million) leaving them with $3.25 Million each.
On your own $30 Million CVO, you pay a total of $10.5 Million in tax, leaving you with $19.5 Million.
A rough total of $17.5 Million ended up going to Federal Taxes. That's a very large difference than had you not had a prior written agreement.
Conclusion, not everyone that wins the Lottery is going to have this kind of written agreement in place. If you do not have one, both you and your family will be much better off if you control the finances and gift members no more than the annual $13,000 to $26,000 limit per person. If your relatives handle it properly it should build up into a fairly comfortable nest egg over the years. Besides the tax savings, it will also allow you to monitor the spending or investment habits of your relatives and intervene if it looks like they are going off the deep end. When giving any money to your relatives you should always talk to them in depth about managing it. A few topics to consider,
- a.) Lottery winners that lost everything.
- b.) The importance of diversification of assets when investing.
- c.) Tax law and end of year taxes.
- d.) Keeping the wealth secret and the importance of setting up a trust for children.
2.) Begin thinking about a name for a trust, it should be something that contains no identifiable information about you or your family. We'll use "MYOB Revocable Living Trust" for the rest of this guide.
In your spare time, it would also be a good idea to look around for Attorneys or Law Firms that specialize in Lawsuits, Income Taxes and Estate and Retirement Planning. You will more than likely want to set up a Revocable Living Trust in the case that you do win the lottery. You might even consider setting up other trusts in addition to the Revocable Living one, a Dynasty Trust would work exceptionaly well if you intend on passing some of your wealth down to grandchildren and beyond. Take some time to read up on how Trusts work if you do not know already.
If you have little to no knowledge on how investments and the tax laws work. Now would also be a good time to do your personal research. You can always use this valuable information, even if you never win the lottery.
3.) If you are involved in an abusive relationship (i.e. verbally, physically, spouse has been cheating, realized spouse is a gold digger, ect.), do not tell them about your win under any circumstances. This will add extra steps that you need to take. You should focus on moving to a safe location and you should most definitely contact a reputable lawyer to begin planning for a divorce. Try to escalate this process, preferably you want to be completely separated from your spouse and have full custody of your children before you claim your winnings.
4.) Day one - Keep your mouth shut! No need to tell your family just yet.
Revealed secrets always have a way of spreading and becoming not-so-secret. Prime example, someone leads a relatively comfortable life and has been able to stash away large sums of cash throughout his/her house. This person informs a close relative where it is located, and how to claim it when he/she dies. Through passing of time, the relative reveals to another family member information regarding the secret cash reserve. This person inturn tells the secret to their spouse during a conversation on finances. At this point, the person safeguarding the cash reserves has no idea that these other two family members know about it, and thus has lost all control of this information. I am sure you can imagine the potential negative impacts of this.
5.) Day One - Do not immediately sign your winning ticket. Take a few pictures or make a few photocopies of the front and back of the winning ticket. Make sure the copies are clearly legible and sign both your name and the name of the trust to the copies. You will use one of these copies when contacting your attorney.
Next, seal the unsigned winning ticket inside a freezer/sandwich bag. You will then need to store the winning ticket in a safety deposit box at your local bank or secure it in a well hidden firesafe at home. Keep all keys in a safe location.
Get an opaque sheet of paper (construction paper would work well), fold it business letter style around the copy that you made and seal this in an envelope addressed to yourself. Take this to the post office and get it post marked over the sealed portion of the envelope. (This proves that the ticket belongs to you if stolen or some freak accident happens, tornado destroys the bank, ect.) Store this envelope and the other copies that you made earlier in a secure location that is unlikely to be disturbed over the coming months while you get everything ready to claim your prize.
6.) Day One - If you have any untreated addictions (alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling or shopping), now is a critical time to get those problems addressed and resolved. Remove anything relating to your addiction from your home and stop hanging out in places where it may be easily accessable. Seek out a good counselor and join a self help group to keep you motivated to break these self destructive habits to regain control of your life. Always have family or friends to call incase you feel the urge to jump off the wagon.
7.) Day One - Besides breaking away from old habits, keep your day job! Bills still need to be paid and food will need to be put on the table over the coming months. Remember, you are trying to be as secretive as possible about your winnings, any drastic change in your lifestyle will throw up a bunch of red flags.
8.) Week One - In the evening when you are off from work and in the privacy of your home, take some time to consider and take note of any questions that you want to ask a CPA, a Trust Attorney and Financial Advisor. Also begin to narrow down a list of these folks that you plan on contacting. Choose folks with a positive history and legitimate results, don't hire an attorney that has had shady dealings or is fresh out of law school. Give it at least a week to do your research, remember you are in no rush to claim your winnings and the secretive jackpot winner will still be fresh in everyone's mind. Keep an eye on what the media is saying and have a good chuckle.
Put in a request for two weeks of vacation at work, you should try to set this about 6 to 8 weeks out and plan on claiming your winnings just before going on vacation. Plan to stay in country during your leave, going to New Zeland or Italy during that time would definitely raise a bunch of red flags if this is not something you could normally afford. Plan on something casual and low cost, like a camping excursion in the Appalacian Mountains, followed by a road trip up the East Coast to see Colonial American historical sites.
9.) Two weeks from winning. - Begin to contact your team. By now the media attention should be starting to wane.
First, contact a reputable Trust Attorney to begin work on setting up your Trust. Make sure you have your notes and questions ready. This will be the first person outside of you and your spouse that knows about your win.
Open accounts at a bank in the name of the trust you chose. "MYOB Revocable Living Trust"
Open a Post Office Box under the name of the Trust, as long as your state lottery does not prohibit listing a P.O. Box on the winning ticket. If there are restrictions, consult your attorney for advice.
Next you should contact your CPA. You will need to confirm exactly how much money you should get after you claim your winnings, as well as find out what you can expect to pay in taxes at that time. Numbers will be vastly different depending on if you chose an Annuity or CVO and how many relatives you are sharing the prize with. This is also a good time to discuss any questions you may have relating to taxes at the end of the year. This will be the second person outside of you and your spouse that knows about your win.
If you have little to no experience managing a large sum of money, you should always contact a good Financial Advisor. They will help you construct your portfolio as well as guide you when investing your newfound wealth. Develop a personalized plan to allocate your winnings into Liquid Funds, Treasury securities, Commodities, Precious Metals and Stocks. The key to keeping your money safe and ensuring that it is not eaten up over the years ahead by inflation is to diversify. This should be the third and final person outside of you and your spouse that knows about your win.
Finally, retrieve your winning ticket and and sign the back with your Trust's name. "MYOB Revocable Living Trust" along with the address information to the P.O. Box you set up earlier. Store it and leave it alone till you go to claim your prize.
10.) 6 to 8 weeks from winning. - By this time media attenion should have really died down.
If all went well at work, you should be getting ready to start your two week vacation. The morning of the day you claim your prize, retrive your ticket, the completed Trust, any other necessary forms and make your way to the State's lottery headquarters to claim your winnings.
Some State Lotteries will release the name of the Trustee that claims the prize, which is also the case in Texas. If this is the case where you live, I would recommend going with your attorney to the Lottery Headquarters, handing him/her the ticket and paperwork just before the prize is to be claimed. Your Attorney will no doubt have to answer phone calls from the press and opportunists regarding his/her client. If you chose your attorney wisely this is something he/she has already been trained in and has experience dealing with. If anyone discovers your secret, it won't be through them.
11.) Over the next couple of days, just after claiming your prize.
Get eyes on confirmation that your winnings have been wired over to the Trust account.
Transfer just enough money into your own personal account to last you for the duration of your trip. Keep it modest. $5,000 should be plenty of money. Remember, you are not going to be staying in the Presidential Suite or playing with the high rollers at Vegas this vacation. Pay your bills that will come up due during your absence and contact your finacial advisor to begin allocating and investing and your funds.
Store any documents you have that are related to your lottery win in your firesafe at home. Load up the car with the family luggage. Don't forget to have a relative or close friend collect the mail that is delivered to your home while you are away.
12.) Vacation Time! Use it to relax and unwind, you've definitely earned it. Don't let the money become a focus of your new lease on life or this vacation. Get out of the hotel and do stuff together as a family, and after the kids are sleeping, spend personal time time with your spouse.
Even if the topic comes up, never discuss winning the lottery in front of the kids. Last thing you want them doing is telling a bunch of children at school and putting your family's privacy and safety at risk.
Periodially throughout your vacation, don't forget to call back home to find out how your relatives are doing, this can also give you an idea if your cover has been blown while you have been away.
13.) Week three to month six after you've claimed your winnings. After you are back home and on the job, continue to resist any temptation to splurge. If you must do so, get something that the family needs, new washer and dryer, new PC or a new tires for the car. Try not to get anything too flashy. If you tend to have a lot of guests over, someone will eventually notice something is not right if you suddenly have that $4,000 fridge with the built in LCD screen or a top of the line big screen HDTV. Try to keep your purchases within what is considered normal for your prior income class. The best thing that you can do is to gradually ease into your newfound wealth.
If you really want to get crafty, start up your own home based business and gradually go part time at your job. It will give you a nice cover story when friends and family start to take note of your increasing wealth. Strangly people usually don't go crazy over the "Rich Uncle/Aunt" that built their wealth up overtime, where knowledge of a lottery win tends to bring out the worst in people.
14.) Tax Season. Worst case scenario, say all of your investments on the $32,500,000 you have left after taxes nets you an average income of 1% return for the year, or $325,000. You will still need to pay taxes on this income at 33% or around $107,250. There's also exemptions to consider, if you are married and filing jointly, knock off $22,546. After taxes this should leave you with roughly $240,000 income for the year. You'll also need to factor in profits from your home based business along with your W-2 from your job. Save all of your reciepts from the past year relating to your HBB, you can use them towards a tax deduction. It's definitely a good time to get back in touch with your CPA to help you with all of the paperwork.
After your CPA has gone over all of the paperwork from your 3 sources of income, let's say you end up with $300,000 after taxes. Now's a good time to budget for the next year. Most families can easily live a very comfortable life off of half of that money, so take $150,000 and re-invest it across your portfolio. Budget out the other half to a little over $12,000 per month for the year ahead and do not spend over this amount!
Now you might be wondering why you are only getting $12,000 per month to spend after winning $30,000,000. This is just a simple example to illustrate the importance of holding off on any major spending. With some interest rates at 2%,3%,4% or more, your annual income and what you can spend per month will likely be much higher.
Always try to re-invest a minimum of 50% of your income from capital gains, it will help you keep up with inflation. You've been debt free for nearly a year now, I am sure that there is no way in hell that you want to go back to struggling from paycheck to paycheck. So always play it smart, wealthy people do not stay that way by playing a dumb game with their finances. It only gets better from here on out, depending on how you invested your money, next tax season you should be able to start claiming long term capital gain tax rates on the majority of your fortune.
15.) 6 Months to 1 Year out. - You and your spouse are now expecting a new addition to the family. Your comfortable 3 bedroom home is not going to be enough space once Jr. comes into the world. Time to buy a new home, and your first major purchase!
Before you go off and buy a 10,000 sq. ft. $3,000,000 mansion there are several things to consider. Property taxes, utility costs, monthly maintenance upkeep, the big freaking red flag because you have your own Gardener and Maid. Don't go this route.
Instead, go for another comfortable middle-class home with more space. You can even opt to lease out your old property, it will provide additional income and an effective cover for your fortune. Always stay within your annual budget and things will be just fine.
16.) 1 year out. If you want to give to charities, never take it out of the lump sum you got from the lottery commission! When you see how much interest you are getting per year then you can plan on anonymously donating a portion of your income. It will add up over time and 20 to 30 years down the road your total contributions will likely be far greater than had you donated Millions at a time and blown your entire fortune in 3 or 4 short years.
17.) 1 year out and for the rest of your life. If you have managed to avoid the average lottery winners fate,
- a.) ALWAYS CONTINUE TO KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT YOUR WIN!
- b.) NEVER SPEND MORE THAN 50% OF YOUR ANNUAL INCOME!
- c.) CONTINUE TO SEEK FOLLOW UP GUIDANCE OR TREATMENT IF YOU PREVIOUSLY SUFFERED FROM AN ADDICTION! It can be a long road to recovery, sometimes taking years or even the rest of your life to beat, but you and your family will definitely be much happier if you stay on the wagon.
Continue to invest wisely so your children will be well taken care of when you pass away. Remember to create a Decision-Free Financial Zone in the Trust/Will that you leave for them. Your death will no doubt be traumatic for the family and you do not want them making any rash decisions after gaining your fortune when you pass away.
IF BY CHANCE YOUR COVER IS BLOWN
1.) Don't panic, try to stay as calm as possible. It may not turn out as bad as the horror stories that we have all heard. Just lay low for a little while and avoid talking to all reporters. You can always give them the contact information to your attorney.
2.) Take note of where you currently live and make a decision to stay in place or move to protect your family. If you live in a poor to lower-middle class community, move as soon as possible. Statisticaly crime rate is much higher in these areas, don't wait around to see if you can avoid becoming another one of those victims.
3.) I am sure by now you are aware or have imagined on how your extended family and friends might react to the news of your wealth. Be especially vigilant of any changes in behavior and attitude that you notice coming from those that are close to you.
Are people that often skipped out on your past family BBQ's or Monday Night Football parties suddenly going out of their way to hang out with you? Have you noticed a pattern in the past of friends asking for money at the end of the month to help with their bills? Is one of your friends or co-workers of the opposite or even same sex all of a sudden making passes and flirting with you? If you can answer yes to any of these or similar questions, ditch them, they are definitely not real friends. Make excuses as to why you cannot hang out with them. ("I am feeling sick." "I have an appointment to go to." etc.) You can also always agree to go to their gatherings and pull a no-show. Make up an excuse that something important came up. Payback can be a real bitch, and it is about time they got a taste of their own medicine.
Always keep your real friends close. You'll definitely know them when you see them. They have bills, debt worries, just like everyone else, but they don't try to burden others with their own financial problems or try to make anyone feel any less for their fortunate/unfortunate circumstances. They might be a bit uncomfortable around you at first, worring if the money has gone to your head. You can ease their concerns by continuing to play a smart and safe game with your money.
4.) Do not give anyone anything out of the ordinary. You may start hearing a bunch of sad stories from friends and relatives, hoping that you will give them funds to pay off a debt or start up an investment. Don't do it, chances are greater that they have been getting along just fine even before they learned of your new wealth. It just takes one big gift on your part to start up a domino effect of a continual stream of folks asking you for help.
If you have been used to alternating who picks up the tab at lunch with co-workers and friends, and all of a sudden they are expecting you to pay for it each time their turn comes up, stop hanging out with them.
5.) You are more than likely going to be dealing with a lot more phone calls from charities and telemarketers. However, before you go changing your phone number, now is the time to have a bit of fun with a tactic known as Reverse Prank Calls. :) Pretend to be someone else, pretend that your favorite dog just died, pretend that your number is a local business, pretend that you do not understand English, pretend that your house is haunted and the spirits just showed up for afternoon tea, ect. When the joke gets old, just change your number and make sure the new one is unlisted.
6.) If you find that your co-workers are suddenly starting to harrass you at work, put in your 2 weeks notice. There's no point in continuing to work somewhere that you do not enjoy. If you have done a good job managing your wealth, you don't necessarily need the money. If your career was something that you really had a lot of fun doing, take up employment with a different company once things have settled down.
7.) Especially be aware of anyone that you know who has a history of unstable behavior, convicted of a past violent crime or begins acting a little crazy around you. Even if you do not currently feel threatened, move immediately. Don't wait for their behavior to turn psychotic.
If you are verbaly threatened or physically assaulted, contact your local Police. Make sure that they can contact you if they need any additional information. Take any important documents, family photos, pets, turn on a couple of lights and leave your home. Under no circumstances, should you go back to your home or to the general area to collect your belongings. Leave them there until everything is safe and then you can arrange for movers to transport the rest of your property to your new location.
8.) If you have to move, you should always move out of town or even out of state. Simply moving to the otherside of the city poses too much of a risk that you will eventually come in contact with the people that you are trying to avoid. If you have an especially unique or uncommon name, now might be a good time to change it. You can always go back to your original name later in the future if you really want.
9.) Enroll yourself and your immediate family in self-defense and combatives classes. If trained properly, even an 70-year-old Grandmother can incapacitate an armed gunman with little risk to her own life.