Feeling Lucky? Have Plans for Your Winning Lotto Ticket?
How often do you play the Lotto? No doubt you already have some plans for your winning ticket. However, you might be surprised. Prize winners are often faced with their own share of prospective legal issues.
It certainly seems easy enough. In some cases, you might have your own numbers picked out and play them regularly. Alternatively, you may opt for a “Quick Pick” and let the machine make the choices for you. And, if your six numbers are picked, you’ll likely be jumping up for joy.
The rules for claiming your prize start with a simple signature. However, as attorneys who have represented a number of lottery winners, we can tell you there are some considerations before you cash in. In fact, you might just want to review them before you head to the Texas Lottery Commission headquarters in Austin.
Just in case you weren’t sure, the Texas Lottery Commission’s rules state that all Lotto Texas®, Powerball®, and Mega Millions® Jackpot prizes must be claimed in Austin. And, there are rules and regulations that go with cashing in on big bucks.
Time Limitations for Lotto Winners
First and foremost, you should be worried about asserting your claim on time. You might think that’s a given. However, according to a recent news article, someone failed to show up for a million dollar prize. The Powerball® drawing was on December 10, 2016. According to the rules, the lucky winner only had until June 8, 2017, to claim the money. Otherwise, it was to be forfeited. There is no indication that the prize was ever requested by the deadline.
Here’s what you need to know as far as time restrictions. You have 180 days from the drawing date to claim your prize. Meanwhile, if you won a considerable sum, you should retain legal counsel as soon as you know your numbers have hit.
Planning for Big Lottery Winnings
There are all kinds of scenarios that warrant speaking with an attorney when it comes to planning for big lottery winnings. For one, you may not want to know the whole world to know that you have amassed sudden wealth.
No doubt you haven’t read the fine print on your winning ticket. Although you might like to remain private and anonymous, Texas law does not really accommodate your intentions.
However, that’s not to say that you can’t create a trust and have a legal representative appear on your behalf. In fact, that’s a major reason winning lotto winners seek help from an attorney experienced in lottery law.
Next, what if you got together with your bowling team and collectively purchased tickets? When it comes to distribution of the prize money, there are both legal and tax consequences.
Even worse, what if you chipped in with friends to play the lottery and suspect that one individual is claiming the prize that actually belonged to the group? Again, this is something a law firm with experience in lottery law can help you with when it comes to making a prize claim.