First Thing You Should Do if YOU Win the Lottery


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Imagine the very thing you’ve hoped for - actually happens - Your ticket has all the correct numbers. You win the big jackpot!

 Here’s what to do next:


1 - Don’t tell anyone

This is going to be hard. You’re going to be tempted to call, text, and post on social media that you’ve struck it rich. Experts say you NEED to stay quiet! Okay, you can jump up and down in your house but lay low for now. Financial and investment advisors strongly suggest that you make a plan before telling friends and family (We’ll touch on that in just a bit.)

2 - Make Copies of your Winning Ticket and Secure it

Make several copies of the front and back of your winning lottery ticket - to show your lawyers and accountants. You’ll also need to secure your ticket in a safe deposit box or personal safe. Don’t sign the ticket until your legal and financial team has gone over the fine print of legal rules and contest contracts. Signing the ticket too soon may prevent you from establishing a blind trust in the future (if your state allows you to stay anonymous.) 

3 - Protect Your Privacy

Living in Washington State, lottery winners are required to have their name and town made public. Depending on the state you win in you may also be required to give interviews or show up at a press conference. If this is the case, immediately: 

  1. Change your phone number.
  2. Set up a new PO Box to avoid being overwhelmed with requests. 

If you’re fortunate enough to live in a state where you can keep your identity private, you may create a blind trust through your attorney to anonymously receive the money. THESE STATES INCLUDE:

  • Kansas: Lottery winners can request to stay anonymous.
  • Maryland: Lottery winners can stay anonymous. Winners have to give specific consent to release their name or photo.
  • Mississippi: The winner has to give the lottery organization written permission to have their identity released.
  • Missouri: The state must have prior consent to publish a winner’s name.
  • Montana: The winner must be permitted to have their name released.
  • New Jersey: Winners of prizes over $1 million can choose to stay anonymous.
  • North Dakota: Winners can remain anonymous.
  • Ohio: Winners can remain anonymous.
  • South Carolina: Winners can remain anonymous.
  • Texas: Winners of a $1 million prize or more can stay anonymous.
  • Virginia: Winners of a $10 million prize or more can stay anonymous.
  • West Virginia: Winners of a $1 million or greater prize can stay anonymous.
  • Wyoming: Winners can request to stay anonymous.
  • Georgia: Winners of a prize that’s more than $250,000 can remain anonymous.

4 - Rely on Your Trusted Team

You’ll need a trusted lawyer and an accountant. You’ll also need to find a financial advisor who has had experience with large financial winnings & inheritance claims. Confirm all three advisors BEFORE you claim your prize. 

5 - Create a Plan

Think about the big picture.

What do you want to do with this money? Write down your goals of what you want to do - in terms of personal goals, charity donations & general family goals. Keep this list and refer to it in the coming weeks, months, and years to come.

6 - Decide on Claiming the Lump Sum or the Annual payout

If you’re not sure you have financial wisdom or self-control, the annual paycheck would be your best bet. A lump sum payout of roughly 60% could help you set up some immediate investments that could payout for even bigger future returns.

7 – Banking Advice

In May of 2023, we saw a wave of high-profile banks collapsing: Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank. Remember that the US Federal government only can cover individual bank accounts of up to $250,000. You would be wise to speak with bank management about depositing high dollar amounts. You'll need to spread out your winnings with multiple banks.


8 -  Set Up a Monthly Budget 

This sounds like common sense, but sadly a staggering 70% of lottery winners go broke within five years. 

They (lottery winners) haven’t really practiced managing money -Robin Henager, an associate professor of economics and finance at Whitworth University.


9 - Plan How You’ll Give Back to Society

Setting up a plan to give back to charities will help you in a couple of ways. You’ll save on taxes and your contributions can have a huge effect on the health and welfare of others in your community.


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INFO SOURCE: State Farm Insurance, Washington Lottery

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