If you get lucky, you may win money, but lottery lawyers warn that winners must play their cards correctly to protect their fortunes.
Chicago-based Stoltman Law Firm explained that 70% of lottery winners end up bankrupt for a reason.
Andrew Stoltman, who represents Manuel Franco, the third-largest jackpot winner in US history, said he gave his clients one very important piece of advice.
After the 24-year-old Franco won $326 million, legal experts told him to “disappear from public life and social media.”
Franco, who won in 2019, went from worrying about keeping $1,000 in his checking account to becoming a billionaire.
“It’s like a dream,” he said at the time.
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“Honestly, I feel like I’m about to wake up.”
Unfortunately for many, dreams can easily crumble if the wrong decision is made.
Winners often “fall prey to bad financial advisers, brokers and others who ‘invest’ their money in risky vehicles and businesses,” according to the bar association that represented Franco.
Some of them donate most of their winnings to “needy” family and friends, they added.
Franco’s lawyer recommended deleting his social media accounts and “moving out of state to make it harder for people to find him.”
“Once this rumor spreads, that person will be the most heavily stalked by banks, brokerage firms and illicit sources,” Stoltman said.
Franco appeared to follow his lawyer’s instructions during his brief post-win media appearance, saying less about himself and instead focusing on his family’s reaction.
“My father used to cry a lot, but my mother seemed to think there was something wrong and was like, ‘I have to tell you the truth,'” he recalled.
The young man did not disclose where he worked or what kind of car he was driving.
However, he revealed that he intends to use part of the winnings to help his family finish their education.
“I really just want to travel the world. He said.
His lawyer appeared happy with Franco’s discretion and suggested that he would not participate in future media appearances.
Stoltman stressed how important it is to assemble a team of financial planners, tax advisors and lawyers to ensure lottery winners maintain their wealth.
“You need to have teams in place and multiple eyes on the money,” he advised.