A majority of Americans would be in a sharing mood if they were to have a big fortune fall into their lap, according to a new survey.

When 1,000 U.S. residents were posed the question of what their primary goal would be if they received a sudden financial windfall, 53 percent said sharing the wealth with family, friends and charities, according to the survey released by BMO Wealth Management in Chicago on Monday.

This was followed by paying off debts (51 percent), investing in the stock market, a business or property (49 percent), financial goals staying the same (43 percent), buying big ticket items (22 percent) and splurging and spending freely (18 percent).

The main estate and legacy concerns tied to a sudden increase in wealth were helping others (29 percent), how to create a legacy with the money (16 percent) and how to avoid family conflict over money (15 percent).

Thirty-six percent of respondents said their chief concern would be getting advice about investing and retirement planning if they received a sudden windfall. The other top concerns were how the fortune would impact retirement plans (17 percent), deciding whom to trust among those who offer help (14 percent), deciding on whether or not to stop working (11 percent) and dealing with any stress caused by the new wealth (11 percent).

“Receiving an unexpected amount of money or assets can bring feelings of relief, joy and responsibilty, so it’s critical to take time to consider all the options,” said Tania Slade, national head of wealth planning at BMO Wealth Management (U.S.). “Engaging a team of experts to discuss options and provide insight on decisions, outline the impact on lifestyle cash flow requirements and estate planning goals and, most importantly, advise on growing and preserving that new wealth will set the scene for a successful financial future.”

The report noted that it's not just lotteries that will cause many Americans to receive sudden wealth in the coming years, with more than $12 trillion in assets now in the process of being transferred from the Greatest Generation (those born in the 1920s and 30s) to baby boomers, and more than twice that amount expected to be transferred from boomers' heirs over the next three to four decades. "At the peak, between 2013 and 2045, 10 percent of the total wealth in the United States will be changing hands every five years," the report said.

The online survey was conducted in June and July, with responses from 1,004 U.S. residents aged 35 and over.