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Revocable trusts offer perks to lucky lotto winners

Everybody loves the idea of winning the lottery, but not everybody likes the idea of the attention that comes along with a lottery jackpot. West Palm Beach lotto players may want to take a cue from a lucky resident of the northeastern coast who represents only the latest in a growing number of lottery winners taking steps to keep their identities private.

The winning ticket was purchased at a neighborhood market, so the winner may be well known to store employees and customers, but the winner remained anonymous even while claiming the hefty prize. Like many lotto payouts these days, this jackpot was claimed by an attorney acting on behalf of a revocable trust.

Using a revocable trust to claim lottery winnings can make sense in a number of different situations. When more than one person has an interest in the jackpot, such as in the case of an office pool, establishing a trust allows the winnings to be administered by a trustworthy, neutral trustee and helps avoid any concerns about self-dealing.

In the case of a single winner, employing a revocable trust can offer estate planning advantages in addition to the benefits of anonymity. The terms of a revocable trust can be changed at any time during the grantor's life and the trust can be configured to accomplish a wide variety of different purposes.

The assets of a trust can be passed on to heirs without having to go through the time consuming, and often costly process of probate administration. In addition, a properly configured trust can help dramatically reduce estate tax liabilities.

A revocable trust can and should be considered a living document that can be adapted to changes in the grantor's life and family circumstances. Estate planning professionals recommend reviewing trust agreements on a regular basis in order to make sure that they continue to meet the grantor's desire and reflect the most current developments in estate tax laws. Because of its flexibility and broad benefits, a revocable trust offers a good place to keep a valuable windfall.

Source: Seacoast Online, "Powerball winner claims $2M prize," Charles McMahon, Sept. 12, 2012

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