What To Do If You Win The Jackpot


It’s possible that during this time, you will find yourself in a maze of confusion. And possibly shock.  As a jackpot winner, you have to stay calm so you can think clearly.  Remember that any wrong decision you make is going to have a detrimental effect on the rest of your life.

Depending on the rules of your lottery, you have 3 months to 1 year time to claim your grand prize.  No need to rush.  You can take your time.  So relax.

Here are some quick and simple suggestions:

  • Protect your ticket and keep quiet.
  • Do nothing for a while.
  • Organize a group of professionals to manage the claim for you.

That’s it.  Three simple steps.

Let’s talk about each step in details.

Protect your ticket and keep quiet

First thing first, make sure that your signature is on the back of the ticket.  If you haven’t signed it yet, put your signature immediately.  But remember to leave extra room above the ticket.  A lottery lawyer has a good explanation for why that extra space is so important.

Once signed, go to the bank and store your ticket in a safety deposit box.

And then keep quiet about it.  Read this: 12 things not to do if you win the lottery

You have to understand why you have to do this.  As soon as the news spread about your new found fortune, expect that things are not going to be the same in your life in the next couple of days.  It’s dangerous too.

The last thing you want to do is to clamor for your privacy and safety.

Now, protecting the ticket might not only be about putting your signature on it. Right after the retailer hands over the ticket to you, already handle the ticket with care.

After all, any ticket is a potential winning ticket. Thus, make sure that you place it in proper storage where the ticket will not get crumpled, wet, torn or exposed to heat and mutilated.

Lottery officials in different places might have different guidelines on ticket validation. Yet, it is best to keep a ticket in good condition.

Few people know it, but lottery tickets might be made of thermal paper. Thus, exposure to heat might erase the important details on the ticket, such as what happened to Antonio Mendoza. He allegedly won the lotto jackpot, but certain circumstances compromised the physical state of his tickets. He was fortunate to win, but unfortunate to claim his prize because of the compromised physical ticket.

Not taking care of your ticket is like wasting away your efforts in choosing the best pattern with best ratio.

Do nothing about claiming your prize for a while

Remember you are still in a state of shock.  It’s best that you do nothing at this point.

I do not know you, but if you think that it’s going to be difficult to focus on your work when you think about your fortune, then I recommend you file a leave of absence.

Get off of work for a while. Then do a simple activity to pre-occupy your mind such as fishing, movie marathon, cooking marathon, gardening, mowing your lawn, or bodybuilding.  Just simple thing.

But if it is possible, continue going to work.  Do your job as usual like it’s a regular day.

And during your spare time, find someone who can help you.  And that’s the topic we will discuss next.

Hire professionals

For this, you may need to take time off your work.  So you can focus on finding the best professionals.

When I say professionals, I mean certified ones.  I am not talking about just people from your neighborhood who know a thing or two about bookkeeping.  Or maybe smart friends of yours whom you hang out with for more than 30 years.

Get three key people on your team.  A lawyer, a CPA and a fee-based financial planner.  Those are the minimum.  The bigger the prize, the more it is necessary to get certified professionals to help you.

These professionals will make a plan on how to keep you anonymous when you claim the prize.  Take a look at what Deborah Jacobs of Forbes says in her article:

Rules on winner publicity vary by state. In New York, for example, winners’ names are a public record. Elsewhere it may be possible to maintain your anonymity by setting up a trust or limited liability company to receive the winnings, says Beth C. Gamel, a CPA with Pillar Financial Advisors in Waltham, MA. A client of Gamel’s who won a past lottery did that, and had a lawyer claim the prize on behalf of the trust. In South Carolina, it’s also possible to remain anonymous.

10 Things To Do When You Win The Lottery

But more than the anonymity issue, these professionals will make sure your new found fortune will not go down the drain.

Here is a list of professionals with proven track record of successfully managing sudden windfall such as the lottery winnings.  This list should give you an idea of who to ask for.

So when you have those key professionals already, meet them up together to discuss the following:

  • The best way to claim your prize.  Whether through a trust fund or an LLC or any other kind of entity.  Know what’s possible under your current law.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of going lump sum or the annuity.
  • Discuss the legal implications of your lottery windfall to your current situations.  For instance, are you separated but not divorced.  It’s best that you discuss the situation with your team.  Rules differ from country to country and from state to state.  In the UK, for example, spouses have no right to lottery winnings.
  • Professional fee – discuss how each member of your team will get paid to make everything clear in the first place.
  • And best of all, discuss the specific ways on how your team will put the money to good use for maximum returns.

With your team, it’s essential to secure the following:

  • Documents and necessary agreements
  • A hard copy of the final plan.  Make sure that each member of the team has a copy of it.
  • The spokesperson for the media group.  It’s important that you assign one.

One good thing about hiring professionals is that you don’t have to tell you are a lottery winner because you can just say you are part of an entity.

And if people are adamant to ask for help, you can just let your team assess the request instead.

Go with the plan

Once a plan has been put in place, then go and implement everything according to plan.

Enjoy your life and your wealth, and remember to stay humble.

Best of all, love your family.  Give something back to the community.  Be thankful for what you have no matter how small or big it is.

Protect Your Winnings

It will surely overwhelm you to instantly amass a fortune. Thus, hiring a team of professionals whom you assembled yourself will be a great help.

Yet, you must also protect your winnings, in every way possible, once you already have the money.

Should you invest or simply bank the money? Many people say that they will start a business if they win the lottery. Yet, before planning this business, make sure that you know how to run this business you have in mind.

A person does not become a smart investor just because he won the lottery. You could ask the advice of an investment consultant, but it is you who will run the business.

Perhaps you could first take up a short course on business management to prepare you for the project ahead. With no proper preparation, you might end up squandering your fortune rather than multiply it.

Also, the news about your winning will inevitably reach your relatives and acquaintances. Therefore, you can expect that many of them might approach you and ask for money.

While it is okay to help, remember there is always a limit for everything. Whatever financial help you want to give, always discuss it first with your accountant.

The professional could also advise you about the tax repercussions of sharing your winnings with family or friends. In the USA, for example, there is a gift tax that can guide lotto winners how much they can give away to loved ones. The gift tax exemption that IRS declared for 2021 is $11.7 million per individual (or 23.4 million for married couple).

Another way of protecting your winnings is to plan how you will live with it. It is common to read about stories of winners who had the misfortune of losing all they had after winning.

You could actually decide what you want to do with your money if you win. Other people’s comments really have no weight on what you want to spend your money.

Still, would it be better to live long and comfortably than eventually file for bankruptcy because you wasted your fortune?

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