The attention never ends. EuroMillions winners Colin and Chris Weir after winning £161.6M (US$212.3M) PHOTO: Daily Mail
Is it a good idea to live under the radar - at least for a while - when you win your gigantic multi-million jackpot? Well, here's why you should keep your head down for a few months.
You'll likely be chased by many interested parties (and not the fun celebratory parties you're thinking of!):
- former partners who want a share.
- distant relatives who think they deserve a share.
- news media of every kind... newspapers, tv and the net... who want to interview you and expose your shopping habits.
- kidnappers who know you are fair game ie, unwary and an easy prey.
- groups and organisations which need funds.
- the needy and the desperate.
- kooks and predators (yes, they are out there!)
If that short list didn't scare you, then there's another important reason...
You will need some time to adjust to your wealth without the constant attention and well-meaning suggestions from anyone and everyone.
Here's some ideas that will let you recover from the (happy) shock in peace:
1. Contact a lawyer and have a legal body formed, like a blind trust. This will allow you to spend the winnings however you like without identifying yourself personally.
2. Start by depositing the funds in a new bank account that can't be touched for 6 months. Not only will this allow your emotions to simmer down after the win, it also prevents you giving it to anyone without due thought.
3. When you deal with banks or legal staff, go to upper management. Make an appointment by phone. Don't stand in a queue waiting for a teller - those days are gone for you! It's white glove treatment from now on.
4. If you have a business that can be traced to you, sell it. After all, you probably won't need the stress and daily chores that every business has. If it is a profitable business (and very few are), think twice about putting it under management - it could be more trouble managing the manager!
5. If you haven't already put a privacy block on your phones, do that now. Don't use your current cellphones - buy one with a prepaid plan and only give that number to trusted family and friends. Be prepared to throw it away and get another as soon as someone outside your known group rings you.
6. If you plan to stay in your own home, you will face all the problems you've read about here. So you may need to shift. Don't do what most people do and stay with a friend or relative - you can be easily traced by anyone who knows your name. Take a 6 month lease on a nice property in the countryside and prepare to enjoy it!
7. Keep a low profile during your time away. Do not buy expensive cars or draw attention to yourself by flashing wads of cash about. The idea is to let the fuss and attention die down. Six months is usually enough.
8. Don't use your current credit cards. Get a debit card or an anonymous ATM Debit card. And use an anonymous browser for your computer so that you can't be traced when you check your bank accounts or make plane bookings.
9. Have all mail - your bank statements, bills and correspondence, everything - sent to a private box which you rent under your blind trust name. Visit the box to collect your mail only at night after business hours.
Would tax-haven Monaco suit you?
There are many tips and resources on the net. Search for "become invisible" and take note of many of the ideas. Some are impractical, like living in off-shore tax havens or getting plastic surgery to alter your appearance.
It's always better to stay close to home, because familiarity with daily life in your area will make it easier to remain hidden.
And of course, there's the alternative - continue with your existing life... stay at your old job, live in your old house. Some folk do that and are able to put up with the turmoil in the first few months.
But the winners of last year's £165 million (US$261m) Euromillions lottery had to flee to Spain to avoid hundreds of people begging them for a share.
And remember - you need to play first in order to win!
After taking tickets of the same series for some time, I decided to extend out to a much larger number of entries. This was what Ken had been saying so I followed instructions. Now I needed to get organised quickly and cut to the chase, buy the tickets and watch the results. I did get organised but alas I let that fateful night go by when I did not buy and the prize pool meant that $1M would have been won as my first line of numbers came up.