While reading this article, you might have won a massive lottery jackpot. Congratulations! All the unsuccessful tickets and failed numbers are now mere history!
What shall I do now?
From the history we know of many jackpot winners who later found out that it had not been a victory but a loss. The number of stories about people whose lives have changed for the worse is countless. Some winners ended up as drug addicts, others have wrongly and mindlessly squandered their money, invested in loss-making businesses, lost all their winnings or even fell in debt because they were not able to manage their luxurious lifestyle. Some people even committed suicide.
I know it’s not an ideal intro to an article whose goal is to give you advice. But I don’t want to hide that you should realize that winning a jackpot brings along some risks and challenges. As we want you to avoid these risks to continue living a happy life, we have set up a guide using information from various advisors and attorneys working for large jackpot winners.
Five steps after finding out that you have won
The main source of our advice was Jason Kurland, a US lawyer attorney representing and helping lottery winners primarily the world’s biggest lottery, Powerball. Jason’s articles are published in major US magazines and interviews made for all popular TV stations. We have found plenty of interviews and videos in which he advices his clients what to do in the case they win millions of dollars. Following our research, we have set 5 rules that all lottery winners should follow. Let’s look at them.
1. Check your lottery ticket more times
Checking your ticket, you see that you have matched all numbers. Probably your first reaction will be something like ”Don’t my eyes deceive me?” jumping like a kid, waving your hands, screaming etc. Before you kick off your celebration party, make sure once again that you have matched all the numbers. Do this again at the lottery’s official website and also make sure that the date on your ticket corresponds with the date of the winning draw.
2. Sign your ticket and put it in a safe place
First thing you should do after checking the numbers and date of draw is put your signature on the back of the ticket. Your ticket is now a bearer instrument and the person whose signature is on the ticket is technically the owner of the ticket. When signing the ticket leave some blank space above the signature. This is in case you later decide with your lawyer to claim the prize through a trust fund, LLC or another entity. Then this blank space will be used for marking the type of the entity to help you remain in anonymity in the future.
After the signature make a photocopy or scan both sides of the ticket. Now you are a holder of a piece of paper whose value has, within a few seconds, skyrocketed. You surely don’t want to lose it. From now on, you can do all transactions with the copy, so put the original ticket in a safe place, ideally in a locked deposit box. If this is not possible make sure that you keep the ticket in the safest place you know. Lock the deposit box properly and keep it in your house or any secured place.
3. Stay calm and don’t tell anybody about your win (remain anonymous)
Perhaps, you will be tempted to spread this happy news to the whole world, ready to organise an opulent party and give your best friends a few tens of thousands as a gift. Or, you will be so shocked that you will do nothing. It’s true that the fewer people know of your win, the better for you and for your family. (In the next days, you might regret that you have told somebody of your win). The worst case scenario is to disclose this information on social networks. Forget about it. Everybody including people who you didn’t know existed could find this information, chase your friends and, at the worst, your family members. This kind of news travels quickly and the last thing you need is to listen to all the congratulations or endless phone calls from charities and organizations explaining how they can benefit most from your generosity even before you collect the prize. I understand your excitement to share this amazing news with your friends but follow my advice and don’t tell anyone, at least for the time being.
4. Get in touch with competent professionals
As a next step you should contact professionals specializing in this area. Your decisions may not always be the best and, as mentioned above, you might lose part of or all your money. These professionals will advice you how to behave economically, how to minimise taxes and all that needs to be done before collecting the prize. They will also help you plan your next steps i.e. what to do with the money so that you can enjoy your life without problems.
Some more risks and challenges may emerge afterward in which professionals may come handy. Don’t forget that on the next days you will be under enormous pressure. Professionals may give you the much-needed peace of mind so that you can concentrate on the important things.
The team of professionals includes a lawyer, financial advisor and accounting specialist.
5. Give yourself some time to think things through
The world will wish to welcome a new multimillionaire – be it out of curiosity, for publicity reasons, charity or other challenges. This media attention will soon vanish. Don’t hurry. You have plenty of time to collect the prize. Anyway, the lawyer will tell you once the time arrives. The best solution is to disappear, at least on the first days, to a quiet place, visit your relatives, take a deep breath and consider what you expect from your life.
In the meantime, make sure by phone that your lawyer and his team are preparing all necessary documents to collect the prize. Ask the lawyer whether it is better to remain anonymous or appear in the public. (This topic is described in more detail below).
Summary video from Jason Kurland
There is a summary video about What is the first thing you should do if you won the lottery jackpot. The video made Jason Kurland, the best lawyer representing and helping lottery winners in the US.
Going public or staying private?
Now you face an important decision: To remain anonymous or to step out to appear in the public as a winner. The lawyer should explain you the pros and cons of revealing your identity on the occasion of collecting the prize. There is not one good answer to this question. The decision depends on your personal priorities.
According to an article published in an internet magazine Metro in 2016, only 10-15 percent of lottery winners in the UK reveal their identity. In the next section, we have described the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.
Going public – pros and cons
The cardinal reason for people deciding to go public is that they no longer want to hide from their friends. In other words, they don’t want to lose their friends just because of winning millions in a lottery. Do they have any alternative? Move to another city or pretend that they have never won a jackpot. It’s not so easy. Now that everybody can see a luxurious car parked in front of a house of a middle-class man. All what these people want is to live a normal life as before without having to pretend.
- In 2014, Neil Trotter, the winner of £107.9 million said at a press conference: „I didn’t want to disappear and hide, I didn’t think that would be possible. I didn’t want to be deceitful to all my friends.“ (Source: Telegraph.co.uk)
- V in 2011, the winner of the historically biggest jackpot (£161.6 million) of Euromillions UK announced in his speech: “We would have had to have constructed lies for our nearest and dearest. We don’t want to live like that.” (Source: Thesun.co.uk)
One of the biggest disadvantages of your wealth is a natural human emotion, envy. Envy may cause losing some of your friends or would-be-friends. You will face people begging for donation and kindness. Unless you please them instantly they will turn their back on you. If you go public you will open your privacy to the outer world, which may result in losing your safety or endanger the safety of your nearest ones.
- You will become famous
- You don’t have to lie anyone
- You don’t have to hide your wealth from your friends
- You may lose your friends
- Globally, you will lose your anonymity
- This may negatively affect the safety of yourself or, worst, of your nearest ones
The majority of lottery winners remains anonymous. These are people who don’t want to lose their safety. Winners who stay private will not face problems with their friends or unknown people begging for money.
On the other hand, these people must be cautious not to show their wealth in the public, for example when shopping in their neighborhood.
- You will not lose your safety (which may be endangered by going public)
- You will not lose your friends (who may envy you)
- Nobody will want to borrow money from you
- You will have to keep your win secret
- Stick to the five rules above, take the five steps in the described order (first, fetch all the professionals)
- Use your money to pay all your debts. Before you start buying new things, your debt list should be erased.
- Don’t change your lifestyle from the one you lived before you won. This will help you always have enough money to pay all unexpected costs. Buy a few big things you have been longing for and continue living your life as you did.
- Make a wish list and, later on, look at it and decide what you really need. Some things should always remain a dream despite of having enough money to afford them.
- Don’t waste your money for things that you don’t need. Keep down to earth!
- Before you collect the prize write down on a sheet of paper what you want to achieve, what you want to avoid as well as how you feel and what you think of your future. Later on, after looking at the sheet you will be able to compare your current feelings with those of an ordinary man. Maybe, this is exactly what you must do to avoid destroying your life for money.
- Remember that you must be smart. Don’t be too impulsive when shopping. If you don’t need a thing don’t buy it. Your family may expect that you will be giving them money just for the sake of it. Remember it is your decision, your will or generosity. You are not obliged to give them anything.
- Be careful; if you show off your wealth you may lose your friends and yourself, too.
- Money can’t buy happiness. Some of the richest people in the world are the most unhappy ones.
To win a lottery is a great happy event, which might be followed by bad luck. Hundreds of stories about unhappy millionaires have been written and, believe me, more will be in the future. To avoid making yourself a future inspiration for such a story, please, obey our advice.
My cordial congratulations to all of you who read this article knowing that they have just won millions. I hope it has helped a bit.
Do not forget to look at the tutorial: How to open champagne…
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