What Happens When You Win The Lottery?
Updated: Friday 16th February 2018
It’s a thought that has run through the head of every lottery player. That moment when you find out you’ve won the top prize. You’ve managed to beat the odds and can’t quite believe what’s happened.
But what really happens next? What are the practical steps you need to take to get hold of your money and ensure the whole process goes smoothly?
Claim the Prize
In the UK, National Lottery players have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim any prize they win. There are various ways to claim lottery prizes at a small level, up to a value of £50,000, and for bigger wins the claims process depends on whether you played online or bought a ticket in a shop.
For any prize of more than £50,000, you will need to call the National Lottery Customer Care Team to arrange to claim your prize in person. The number for online winners is 0333 234 44 33, and it’s also displayed on your ticket. Lines are open from 8am to 8pmfrom Monday to Saturday and from 9am to 5pm on Sunday. Just don’t forget to make your claim before the deadline otherwise you won’t receive a penny.
Played in a Shop
You must collect prizes worth more than £50,000 in person, and should call the National Lottery on 0333 234 50 50. Lines are open from 9am to 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 9am to 5.30pm on Monday and Thursday, and from 9am to 3pm on Sunday. The officials will ask you a series of straightforward questions about various numbers on your ticket and check the information you provide against their own records. If all is well and it looks like your claim is valid, you will be able to arrange a meeting with a winners’ advisor at the end of your call.
Meet an Advisor & Validate the Win
It is the job of the winners’ advisors to validate winning tickets and pay out the money. If you win, the advisors will come out for a meeting at a time that suits you. This typically happens at home, although some winners may prefer to visit one of the regional National Lottery centres in Watford or Liverpool.
For the win to be validated, you must complete a prize claim form, present proof of identity and age and hand over the winning ticket. The ticket will be scrutinised to check that it has not been cancelled, forged or stolen. It must be fully readable and intact and the data must match the lottery’s official list of serial numbers for winning tickets.
The advisors will complete the relevant paperwork and recommend that you set up a private bank account for the winnings. They work closely with banks that have experience with lottery winners and can arrange for a representative to attend the meeting so the account can be set up immediately.
Once everything has been confirmed, the money can go into your account. This can be expected to go through within 48 hours.
Go Public or Stay Anonymous
UK winners have a choice over whether to accept publicity or remain private. The winners’ advisors will be able to provide useful information but it is ultimately up to you to decide. It may be that you prefer to keep your news to yourself as much as possible and avoid public scrutiny, or perhaps you could see the benefits of sharing your story and feel it would be too big a secret to keep.
Enjoy the Win
Whether it is new cars, holidays, paying off the mortgage or something incredibly extravagant, lottery players have the world at their feet when they win big. Amo Riselli, a Gloucestershire taxi driver who won £24.5 million in December 2017, announced that he would be giving up his job, swapping his cab for a Ferrari, going on holiday to Las Vegas and looking out for a new four-bedroom house with a swimming pool.
Receive continued support
The winners’ advisors do far more than just help you to get your money and then clear off. They know the best professionals to talk to for legal and financial advice, and will talk to you about what other winners have found helpful. They will continue to help you for as long as you want, and offer support for how to deal with the extra interest that might come your way, particularly from the media.
It is a smooth process when you win and there are opportunities to play great games several times a week. The only way to win is to play and, who knows, you could soon get the chance to experience what happens when you win the lottery!Published: Tuesday 10th January 2017
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