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Anonymity and lottery winnings

While most forms of gambling are legal in Nevada, lotteries are not, which is why so many residents of the state often travel to neighboring towns in California or Arizona to buy tickets when Powerball jackpots reach stratospheric levels. While the idea of winning $1.5 billion might be someone's dream, the prospect of having this information publicized could be worrisome. In addition to receiving high levels of attention from the public, a winner could be faced with extensive requests for financial assistance. Only five of the states participating in the popular lottery allow winners to remain anonymous. However, there are some financial planning strategies that can be used to keep such a fortune private.

A blind trust could be created to keep the matter protected from the public eye. By establishing an LLC, an entity or a trust with a name that will not easily be connected to one's personal information, winnings could be claimed without the individual being personally identified. This method allows winners to maintain full control of their assets while making it difficult for others to find their information.

Another trust-related approach to shielding oneself from public scrutiny involves a two-level trust system. A claiming trust is created for the purpose of claiming the prize in question and should be established with a name that is obscure enough that it would not be connected with the personal information of the winner. Once the funds have been claimed, they would be transferred from the claiming trust to a bridge trust. While the claiming entity's information may be subject to the Freedom of Information Act in connection with a state lottery, a bridge trust would not.

Because trust laws and identifying information can be crucial factors in any scenario, reliable counsel can be extremely important. An individual might need to determine the best type of trust for a given situation, and a lawyer might ensure that errors are not made that could diminish the value of the assets included.

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