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Financial windfall may not keep you out of bankrutpcy

Money problems that lead to the need for bankruptcy protection usually do not occur overnight. A sudden cash influx is a dream of many facing dire financial issues. While it may provide immediate relief, spending habits must change.

Many lottery jackpot hopefuls believe that the right numbers will end their stress over finances. For a former Seminole County schoolteacher, a six-figure lump sum of $750,000 changed her life. However, her overnight wealth became a path to bankruptcy due to excessive spending and ignoring her financial obligations.

The woman's former live-in boyfriend sued her for failing to share the winnings. In classic "he said-she said" fashion, the man claimed that he gave his then-sweetheart $20 to buy the ticket. The woman alleged that the pair had already broken up, and that the man was engaged to someone else at the time of the purchase. They had only bumped into each other at the convenience store where the ticket was purchased, she said.

On February 4, a jury ordered the woman to fork over $291,000, ruling that the former couple had an unwritten, yet valid, contract to split the jackpot. As a result, the man has gone from partner to creditor in her bankruptcy case.

Today, the one-time lottery winner is claiming property worth $182,000 and liabilities at nearly $240,000. During the trial, she revealed that she purchased a building to open a restaurant. Additional assets include an LLC valued at $110,000 and a $53,000 retirement account. Her debts include $45,000 in attorney fees and $103,000 in student loans.

So much for a sudden cash influx providing long-term relief to debt problems. Throwing money at financial problems does little to alleviate long-term issues. If you find yourself in need of bankruptcy relief, contact an attorney today.

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