She Won The $560 Million Powerball — And Immediately Regretted This
(Photo by Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
When this New Hampshire woman won the $560 million Powerball jackpot in January, she did what most people would do. She signed the back of her ticket.
But it almost cost her more than she bargained for.
Here’s what you need to know and what you should do if you’re fortunate enough to follow in her footsteps and win the lottery.
Step #1: Remain anonymous
If you win the lottery, your best bet is to remain anonymous.
With your newfound fortune, the last thing you want is to draw attention to your newfound fortune. Jane Doe (the Powerball winner whose name has not been disclosed) realized after she signed her winning lottery ticket that she wished to remain anonymous.
Typically, the choice to remain anonymous after you win the lottery may not be yours.
The rules regarding anonymity vary by state, with some states requiring all lottery winners to disclose their identity. Why?
Some lottery officials say they want transparency and to ensure that the winner is not related to a lottery official. Therefore, lottery commissions strive for transparency, and typically want winners to disclose their name, city and prize amount.
Remaining anonymous when you win the lottery can only be done in six U.S. states: Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina. The remaining states where Powerball is sold, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, require that winners publicly disclose their identity.
In New Hampshire, a lottery winner’s name, town and prize amount are publicly disclosed as part of the state’s “Right To Know” law.
However, Doe asked a state judge to grant her anonymity even though she signed her name on the back of the ticket and lives in a state that does not permit anonymity for lottery winners.
On Monday, Judge Charles Temple granted her request – to the objection of New Hampshire lottery officials who argued that revealing her identity increases transparency and trust in the lottery system in accordance with state rules. The judge ruled that revealing her name would constitute an invasion of privacy since lottery winners can face – according to Temple’s order – “repeated solicitation, harassment, and even violence.” The judge ruled, however, the winner had to reveal her town (Merrimack).
Step #2: Sign the winning lottery ticket
So, if you win the lottery and live in a state that does not guarantee anonymity, should you still sign the back of the ticket?
It may sound outdated, but you should always sign the back of a winning lottery ticket.
A lottery ticket is considered a bearer instrument, which means that whoever signs the ticket can claim the lottery winnings.
Therefore, if you lose an unsigned winning ticket, the person who find it legally can claim the prize.
The question then is what name do you sign on the back of the ticket – particularly if you want to remain anonymous.
You can accept a lottery prize through legal structures such as a blind trust that can protect your identity. In this case, the winner created the Good Karma Family 2018 Nominee Trust. Her lawyer, William Shaheen, accepted the lump sum prize of $352 million (approximately $264 million after taxes) on her behalf.
What’s the first thing she did with her new fortune? She donated almost $250,000 to charity – and has plans to donate up to $50 million. Way to make lemonade.
Zack Friedman is the bestselling author of the blockbuster book, THE LEMONADE LIFE. Apple named The Lemonade Life one of “Fall’s Biggest Audiobooks” and a “Must-Listen.”
If you win the lottery, make sure to do this one thing.
How to Claim Lottery Anonymously: Useful Tips for Those Who Are Lucky
All of us have been ever dreaming of winning the lottery and getting millions of dollars to our bank account. Some people not only dream about it but take actions as well: they buy lottery tickets and keep their fingers crossed until the results are announced. However, if you are lucky enough to choose winning numbers, after hitting the jackpot, you can face some problems, and remaining anonymous is one of them.
According to recent researches, the U. S. citizens spend approximately $70 billion annually for buying lottery tickets. Some people dream of spending the prize on a house, other – on travels, somebody shares money with family and friends. No matter what you will buy for them, winning the lottery is always a happy moment.
On the other hand, big money means big risks. And you will probably have the question in your mind: “If I win the lottery can I remain anonymous?” This question is more important than you can even imagine. You should keep yourself and your money secure.
Why is it important to be anonymous after winning the lottery?
There were a lot of cases in history when lottery winners were killed and their money was stolen. However, the most surprising thing here was that they were murdered not only by third parties but also by their friends and relatives. Moreover, some relatives tried to manipulate them and to gouge money out of them in every possible way.
For instance, Abraham Shakespeare was so happy to win $30 million in 2006 in the Florida lottery. But his happiness didn’t last long. He was found buried in concrete. $50 000 win claimed the life of the Irish lotto winner – Ryan McKechnie. He had problems with drugs, tried to give up on them but big money didn’t let him do it. He spent all the prize on drugs and his friends and left with nothing. However, somebody thought he was still rich and murdered him searching for money.
Such cases show the importance of anonymous lottery; states which support the law make lotteries safe for winners. In addition to wealth, a person also gets problems connected with jealousy, public opinion and people who want to line their pockets from somebody’s money.
What states allow anonymous lottery winners in the U. S.?
The main reason why anonymity is still a topic of discussion is that the U. S. government requires much transparency of financial operations. Imagine: you have won $1 million and want to be anonymous but to buy a house and a car. And it turns out that the mission is almost impossible because you will have to deal with financial institutions and provide your personal details everywhere! To make the story short, you can’t do anything with your prize without providing full information about yourself to the government.
Speaking about which states allow you to be anonymous lottery winner, there are 9 of them in the U. S. at the current time. They are Texas, Arizona, Kansas, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, Michigan, North Dakota, Ohio. Only they allow lottery winners to recede from public view. On the contrary, such states as Wisconsin and California strictly prohibit winners to conceal any information about them and their prizes. And, for example, New York just provides more possibilities for winners to somehow stay anonymous and get around the law.
Why are some public officers against the idea of anonymity?
For a lottery winner, anonymous, states create a lot of difficulties that he or she should overcome for a safe life. Thus, one of the Government representatives didn’t support the anonymity law because it could shatter people’s confidence in the honesty of the lottery. And it isn’t the only case. After the incident with a programmer who wrote a code predicting the lottery results, players were more suspicious about a person who won the jackpot. Most of them are sure that the results can be garbled.
Another reason is that lotteries will stop being so interesting for people. Players want to see a winner, a real person because it motivates them to buy more tickets and to try their luck. Such stories about sudden success inspire them to take part in the lottery until they win something. Anonymous winners can provoke a dramatic drop in lottery sales because prizes won’t have the necessary effect.
Can a lottery winner remain anonymous and what should be done for this?
If you are the U. S. citizen and have a good deal of luck to win the lottery, some states allow you to choose whether to share your success with the public or to stay anonymous and make your win top-secret. It’s a matter of your privacy and personal life, so, it’s up to you what to prefer.
If you are interested in the ways how to collect lottery winnings anonymously, let’s consider them in more detail:
- The first way is to use so-called “blind” trust. What does it mean? You open a trust, or a Limited Liability Company (LLC), and give it any name but not yours. In this case, you are still the owner of your money but it’s on your company’s balance. You can manage them in any way you want and nobody will find out that you are a rich person.
- Another way how to claim lottery winnings anonymously is to apply “a trust within a trust” strategy. It’s the best solution when a person has won a really big sum of money and worries about his or her safety very much. This method is effective for reaching the goal of utter anonymity for your finances. However, it isn’t so easy to create such trust by yourself. It will be better to get consultation and help from an experienced lawyer.
It includes two trusts: claiming and bridge. The first one allows you to claim your win. In other words, you transfer your prize to a company. The second step is to quickly get money to your bridge trust. Such operations help to hide personal information about a lottery winner: after transferring money to a bridge trust, all details become more secured.
So, can you remain anonymous if you win the lottery? The answer is obviously yes. Although the schemes may seem complex, a lawyer can help to solve the problem.
As far as only some states allow winners to stay anonymous, not all Government representatives support the law. The topic remains controversial: winners wish to conceal their money from the public while people want to see who this person with millions of dollars in a pocket is.
As mentioned earlier, EuroMillions announced the biggest winner in the UK history who received £170 mln. and decided to remain anonymous.
Anonymous lottery: states which support the law. Can lottery winner remain anonymous in the U. S.? Click here and find out more about the topic