What To Do If You Win The Lottery?

Winning a lottery and claiming lottery prize is the most memorable and joyful moment for the winner. But there are few things to do and know and learn to cherish your winning moments in proper way. Most part of the things mentioned here are taken from the lottery manuals of USA.

You have won the lottery…now what?

Some Tips of Advice

  • If you are concerned about people trying to contact you, consider changing your cell and home phone numbers or allow your voicemail to pick up calls for a few days.
  • Interview at least three licensed attorneys and select the one you feel most comfortable with. An attorney can help protect you and your assets.
  • Interview several Certified Public Accountants. Remember, you will have to pay taxes on your win. An accountant can make sure your taxes are in order year after year.
  • If you plan to invest your money, do it wisely. You may consider the services of a qualified investment planner. Again, interview at least three and select the one you are most comfortable with.
  • You may want to hire an attorney, an accountant and an investment planner from three different firms. You want them to act independently from one another.
  • You will receive many offers to donate, invest or downright give away your money. Always consult your expert professionals.
  • Spending fast and furious will only leave you fast and furiously broke. Be careful with your newfound wealth!
  • There will be immediate interest in your story. Media will likely attempt to contact you. Their efforts are made easier in this day of internet search engines. With that in mind, consider taking part in a news conference. Winners have been better able to satisfy these media requests in one shot and get on with their lives.
  • According to public disclosure laws, your name is public record. The name and location of the retailer who sold the winning ticket, the date you won, whether your numbers were a Quick Pick or your own numbers and the amount of your winnings are also matters of public record and are subject to disclosure.
  • You can form a trust prior to claiming your prize, but understand that your name is still public and reportable.

How Long Do You Have In Claiming Lottery Prize?

Almost all Lottery draw games allow you 180 days from the date of the draw to claim your prize. The only exceptions are the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots, which have a one-year time limit from the date of the draw to claim your prize. Scratchers prizes can be claimed no later than 180 days from the announced end of game date.

When Do You Receive Your Checks?

Lottery winner Mega million
Mega Million Winner

Your first claiming lottery prize payment will be available within six to eight weeks from your claim date. For jackpot prizes, your nearby District Office will notify you when your check is ready for pick-up. You may choose to have a Lottery security agent accompany you to your bank or financial institution. If you choose to have your SuperLotto Plus, Mega Millions or Powerball prize paid in annual instalments, future payments will be sent close to the anniversary date of the winning draw. Weekly winners will receive 52 weekly instalments each year and monthly winners get a payment at the same time each month. Payments (other than the first payment) can be mailed directly to your home address or to your financial institution at your request.

Prizes up to $599

Prizes up to $599 can be claimed at any state Lottery retailer, provided that they have cash available.

Prizes $600–$50,000

Prizes $600–$50,000 can be claimed at a lottery office. You can get their addresses mentioned on their state lotteries websites.

Prizes up to and including $50,000 can be claimed by mail. The lotto ecommend keeping a copy of the front and back of your ticket for your records and that you use registered mail.

Players with prizes valued at $600 or more can claim in-person via walk-in at Lottery Headquarters or any district office during normal Lottery business hours.

  • Prizes of $1 million and above and all prizes with an annual payment option can be claimed in-person via walk-in or appointment at Lottery Headquarters.
  • Also you need to fill a prize claim form for amounts more than $500 or more in many of the US states lottery.
  • You will need to submit few of your documents to claim bigger prize and wins. Present one form of identification that is current or was issued within the past five years and bears a serial number or other identifying number. If you are claiming via mail or secured drop box, provide a clear scanned copy of your identification.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

An identification card or driver’s license issued by a public agency authorized to issue driver’s licenses, a territory of the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.

A passport issued by the U.S. Department of State.

A passport issued by a foreign government for non-annual payment option prizes & prizes that do not require a notarized affidavit.

A passport issued by a foreign government stamped by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services for annual payment option prizes or for prizes that require a notarized affidavit.

An identification card issued by any branch of the U.S. armed forces.

An identification card issued by the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How Does the Lottery’s Payment System Work?

By default all Powerball, Mega Millions and SuperLotto Plus jackpots are paid in 30 graduated instalments. A winner claiming lottery prize is given the opportunity to choose the cash value of their jackpot prize within 60 days following their approved claim. The payment option chosen will apply to all claimants in a multiple ownership claim.

You may select the claiming lottery prize payment option by filling out a Lottery Jackpot Election Payment Form. You have the option to fill out this form at the District Office when you claim your prize or you can have the form sent to you. If taken home, the form must be notarized and returned to the Lottery within 60 days from the date that your claim is approved for payment. This is normally within a day or two of the date you submit your prize claim. Group winners of a jackpot prize must all choose the same payment option, otherwise the payments default to annuity payments.

If you choose the cash option, the amount you receive will be less than the announced jackpot. This is because the cost to invest for an annuity prize is less than the monies needed for the investment that will fund the annuity payments that will be paid to winner over the life of the jackpot prize. With the cash option for SuperLotto Plus, Mega Millions, and Powerball jackpot prizes, you will receive the estimated cash value of the funding cost of the annuity jackpot.

Your first annuity payment or the single cash option payment will arrive within 6–8 weeks. There are no State taxes for Lottery prizes but the pay­ment will be less federal tax. With an annual annuity prize, payments are made based on the rules of each game. Lottery annuity jackpot games may either be based on a graduated or straight payment structure.

Grand prize annuity winners from Scratchers games will receive instalment payments as specified in the game profile for that particular game. If the game offers a cash option amount, it will be printed on the ticket.

Who Receives the Interest Earned on this Prize Money?

The Lottery currently purchases government securities to secure the future payments of your prize. Together, the principal and interest earned by these bonds over a specified time make up the full amount of the prize. In effect, each year a portion of the securities mature and make up that year’s payment.
For example, on a $1 million Scratchers prize paid over 20 years, there is approximately $500,000 cash (approximately one-half of the entire prize amount) available for the purchase of bonds that will be worth $950,000 at maturity. The first pay­ment of $50,000 to the winner is added to $950,000 to equal the full value of the prize.

What Happens if You Die Before You Receive All the Payments?

In the event of a prize winner’s death, representatives of the estate will need to contact the Lottery’s Investments Office in order to begin the process of transitioning payments to the benefi­ciaries and claiming lottery prize. All remaining instalment pay­ments will be paid to the appropriate heirs of the estate.

Designating beneficiaries for your remaining prize payments simplifies the process of transferring prize pay­ments to your heirs. You may obtain a Lottery Beneficiary Designation Form from the Lottery Investments Office. The telephone number is at the end of this handbook. By simply completing the form, you will provide the Lottery with the names of individu­als that you designate to receive any remaining unencumbered payments as they come due. You may change your designated beneficiaries at any time by simply completing a new Beneficiary Designation Form. If there is no Lottery Beneficiary Designation Form on file at the time of your death, the Lottery will make payments pursuant to established Lottery procedures or as ordered by the court.