On February 14, 2023, California state lottery officials named the winner of the largest lottery prize in United States history: Edwin Castro won an eye-popping $2.04 billion in a November 2022 lottery drawing, choosing a lump sum payment of $997.6 million instead of annual payments over three decades. A lottery player in Maine recently won the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot—another of the largest prizes ever recorded. If you are fortunate enough to have purchased a winning lottery ticket, it is important to carefully consider how you want to handle your unexpected windfall to avoid repeating the unfortunate pattern of many lottery winners who quickly squander their new wealth, even if your prize is much smaller than those mentioned.
Take your time. Lottery winners typically have a specific length of time to claim their winnings, although the deadlines vary by state. For example, under title 8, section 382 of the Maine Revised Statutes, the Maine Mega Millions winner has one year after the drawing to claim the money. If it is never claimed, it will be transferred to the state’s general fund. In North Carolina, however, the prize must be collected within 90 or 180 days of the end of the game or drawing, depending upon the type of lottery prize you have won. Although it is not wise to delay too long, you should take time to think carefully about what you would like to do with the cash you have won, preferably even before you claim your prize.
Manage expectations. If your lottery winnings have substantially increased your wealth, you may discover that your popularity has also grown. Some family members, acquaintances, and scammers are likely to […]