Winners, windfalls and wealth protection

The importance of legal advice and wealth protection following a lottery win or large windfall.

The Independent recently featured an article about Britain’s youngest Euromillions winner and the detrimental impact that winning the lottery had on her life.

Jane Park was 17 when she won £1m on Euromillions. She is now 21 and is planning to sue Camelot (the company that runs Euromillions and other lotteries) for “ruining” her life.

At present, lottery rules allow anyone that is over the age of 16 to play the lottery but aged 17, Jade does not feel that she was able to cope with the financial responsibility of becoming a lottery winner and that she wasn’t provided with the support to manage her finances following the win.

Managing finances can be daunting at the best of times, let alone when you are relatively young and have never had to think about savings and investments before, and you find yourself in a markedly different situation to your family, friends and peers.

Whatever the source and whatever the reason, coming in to a large sum of money can be a daunting prospect. It is important to seek specialist legal advice from a family lawyer about how to best to ensure your funds, and your intentions, are protected, and understand the legal implications of your relationship status upon your finances.

Experiences such as Jane’s also highlight the importance of providing emotional support for those who come into large sums of money. Camelot offer to put winners in touch with other winners for that support, but family therapists and counsellors may also be of real benefit for helping manage the impact on a winner’s life.   This is a huge change in circumstances that can have an enormous impact on lifestyle and relationships with family and friends.

There can be tax implications depending on how the winnings are used and invested, and so specialist tax advice should also be sought.

It would also be sensible to keep in regular contact with your financial and legal advisors – managing your finances requires regular review and one off advice at the outset is unlikely be sufficient. Wishes and intentions change and it is important that you understand the implications of any decisions so that you can make fully informed choices.

Whilst we all dream of winning the lottery and escaping to a Caribbean island, the difference between the dream and the reality can often be quite stark, and so it’s important to seek advice and support from the outset. We seek advice when something negative happens, such as a death or relationship breakdown, so why should it not be the same when something equally as life-changing happens?

If you’re considering how best to manage and protect your finances in light of a life event and would like further advice, do get in touch.


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