Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Lawyer charts Florida lottery winner’s future: ‘Your old life is gone’

Walt Blenner is a Tampa Bay personal injury lawyer who also does some estate planning and recently fell into a niche of representing lottery winners.

About three years ago, Blenner helped a man who won a $3 million scratch-off secure his newfound wealth. He’s also written blog posts on his law firm website, providing guidance to lottery winners, and has consulted with several of them on the phone.

Then came Shane Missler, the 20-year-old Port Richey man who claimed the $450 million Mega Millions jackpot on Friday.

MEGA MILLIONS: Florida man, 20, claims $450M jackpot.

Among the advice Blenner has told his new client so far: "Your old life is gone and you can never go back to that life. It will never be the same."

Winning the lottery can cause a "roller coaster of emotions," said Blenner in his first interview since Missler’s win. But that euphoria is followed by a trail of important decisions.

First, there’s the security and privacy phase.

In Missler’s case, "security became paramount" due to the huge windfall, Blenner said.

In general, he added, lottery winners will shut off social media accounts, cancel phone accounts and use no-contract phones to communicate with family members.

Once privacy and security parameters are in place, winners must then chart their futures.

In the case of Blenner’s $3 million scratch-off winner, the man went to his local bank and opened three different accounts: one for investments, one for spending, and a third for his children.

But Missler’s financial setup will be vastly different. He took the lump-sum payment of $281,874,999, and minus taxes, received $211,406,249.25. Lottery officials said Friday the money will be paid to a trust named "Secret 007, LLC," that is set up with Missler as the managing member.

LOTTERY WINNER: Shane Missler’s Maine hometown overjoyed he won the big prize.

"With an enormous amount, you don’t really do active investments. You do wealth management," Blenner said. "You already have all the money in the world."

Lottery winners also have to consider upgrading their insurance, from car to homeowner’s policies. They can also sign up for something called "kidnap and ransom" insurance.

"The world is full of people who would do anything to sue a lottery winner," Blenner said.

There’s also the question of disappearing for a while until the media frenzy settles. With smaller lottery winners, they can take a cruise or vacation for a couple of weeks and return to find that "the media is on to 15 other things in that time frame."

"When it’s a big number," Blenner said, "people remember."

Missler, his lawyer added without offering many details, is "nowhere locally."

Once lottery winners return from their impromptu vacations, the real long-term decisions set in: Do they quit their job? Do they rent or buy new property? Where will they live?

On Saturday, Missler texted Blenner from his new undisclosed location.

"He’s doing well," Blenner said. "He’s a very poised 20-year-old and he’s got everything going right for him. He’s got a close family, and a close group of advisers, and we do hope to work with him for years to come."

Contact Laura C. Morel at lmorel@tampabay.com. Follow @lauracmorel.

Comments
Forecast: Warm weather remains, but cold front will bring rain to Tampa Bay

Forecast: Warm weather remains, but cold front will bring rain to Tampa Bay

A warm weekend across Tampa Bay will carry over into the start of the workweek, after some morning fog burns off and before a front results in clouds and increased rain chances later this afternoon.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa...
Updated: 1 hour ago

The Daystarter: PolitiFact Florida analyzes prison costs; breaking down the Super Bowl matchup; free dental clinic services in high demand; Arrrrr you ready for Gasparilla?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• We’ll have a mild and sunny start to the week, with highs in the upper 70s, according to 10Weather WTSP. A weak cold front brings a chance of rain on Tuesday and slightly coo...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Police: 2 IEDs detonated at a Florida mall, no injuries

LAKE WALES — Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

Advocates of Florida prisoners protested outside of the Florida Department of Corrections in Tallahassee on Tuesday, demanding answers to questions of alleged price-gouging in prisons across the state.Protesters from dozens of grass roots organizatio...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Hooper: Deal with sea-level rise or prepare to be inundated

When fans again flock to Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard for the annual Gasparilla Festival on Saturday, I hope they ask a question: Will the floats need flotation devices in 2035?Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Astrid Caldas and Kate Cell, members of the Union ...
Published: 01/22/18
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 7 hours ago

nationResearchers work to avoid another 1918 super-flu The descriptions are haunting. Some victims felt fine in the morning and were dead by night. Faces turned blue as patients coughed up blood. Stacked bodies outnumbered coffins. A century after on...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 8 hours ago
‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

‘Three Billboards’ sweeps female-focused SAG Awards

LOS ANGELES — The Western-inspired revenge tale Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri swept the female-focused and led Screen Actors Guild Awards Sunday with wins for best ensemble, best actress for Frances McDormand and best supporting actor for...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Shutdown opens week

Shutdown opens week

Associated PressWASHINGTON — The government shutdown will extend into the workweek as the Senate appeared to inch closer to ending a partisan stalemate late Sunday but fell short of agreement. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Democratic...
Updated: 9 hours ago