When a person comes into a large amount of money, such as by winning the lottery, it is important that he or she begin planning not just how they will spend their money, but how their suddenly flush with cash estate will be administered when they're gone. The tragic murder case of a Florida man who was taken advantage of is putting the future of his estate in doubt and providing an example for the need to plan ahead.

The estate of a murdered Lakeland, Florida, man who won a $17 million lump-sum payment in the Florida Lottery in 2006 is suing the woman accused of murdering and swindling him out of millions in cash and assets. The woman, facing first-degree murder charges, is accused of befriending the man after he won the lottery and gaining control of his money through a joint business venture.

The latest lawsuit by the man's estate against the defendant is seeking 121 items that were seized by police from the defendant during the murder investigation. They include jewelry, computers and a Rolex watch. The woman claims that they belong to her and she needs to assets to pay for her defense.

The victim's estate has other lawsuits pending, including for properties that the estate alleges were given illegally to the woman's company. One of those properties was purchased for $1.07 million in 2007.

In this case it sounds as though the victim was unprepared for the work it would take to protect his winnings and was easily taken advantage of. It is important when planning an estate to consider issues such as trusts, wills and power of attorney when deciding how you want your assets to be handled for future generations. An experienced attorney can help with the challenge and ensure that your wealth is protected.

Source: The Ledger, "Slain lottery winner's estate sues 'DeeDee' Moore," Jason Geary, Oct. 13, 2011