A few years ago we were contacted by the winner of a $10,000,000 Massachusetts Lottery scratch ticket. He was adamant that he did not want the winnings to change his life or to have his friends and family (other than his wife) know about his good luck or have charities and others dun him for gifts or loans. He knew that the Massachusetts Lottery requires publication of the name and a photograph of all winners. Rich May was able to help him collect his winning anonymously.
By reviewing the Lottery regulations, we determined that winners need not be individual persons. So after several telephone calls with the Lottery officials, they confirmed they would make the payment to a Trust if there was sufficient evidence of the Trust's existence and a federal employer identification number from the IRS.
Stephen Kane of Rich May, P.C. was able to prepare all necessary documents and the winnings were paid by check to the Trust and the Trust in turn paid out the winnings to the individual. The Trust was listed as the winner and the individual winner was never identified. Attorney Kane, as Trustee of the Trust, had his picture taken by Massachusetts Lottery. All IRS and Massachusetts taxes were reported and paid as the Trust had to report its allocation of funds to the winner (but these tax reports on IRS Schedule K-1 are not public records).
So the winner remains anonymous. He is working with a financial advisor and a tax accountant. He kept his job, hasn't moved, has made charitable donations to several non-profits and is happy to know he and his wife are financially secure for life and, unlike all other lottery winners, he has never been bothered by people or organizations for a share of his winnings.
Disclaimer: This summary is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Any specific questions about these topics should be directed to Stephen Kane or an attorney in Rich May, P.C.'s Business, Corporate and Securities Group or our Tax and Estate Planning Group.