What Happens When You Win The Lottery?
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.
You double check the numbers to make sure you’ve won. You pinch yourself to make sure it’s not a dream. You scream crazily at a loved one/ nearest random stranger to come and make sure you’ve not made a mistake. You check the numbers together for half an hour. You break down in tears at the delight of it all. You phone a parent/friend/sibling and do some more hysterical screaming. You start thinking of that holiday you’ve always wanted to go on or the huge house you can now buy.
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. It is entirely up to you if you want to take a bit of time to get your head around what has happened, but just don’t forget to make your claim before the deadline otherwise you won’t receive a penny. If you bought your ticket from a retailer, ensure you keep it safe, and write your name and address on the back for added security.
There are various ways to claim lottery prizes at a small level, but for bigger amounts of £50,000 or more you will need to call the National Lottery Customer Care Team. The number is 0844 338 5461, and it’s also displayed on your ticket.
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, the customer care operator will pass on your details to the National Lottery’s team of winners’ advisors, who will quickly get in touch to set up a meeting.
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.
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.
You will be asked to present two forms of ID and to hand over the winning ticket. Once this has been scanned and the win confirmed, the money can go into your account. This can happen within a few hours
Support and Advice
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 ask you at your meeting how many people you’ve already told about your win and discuss how to deal with the extra interest that might come your way, particularly from the media.
To Go Public or Not?
One of the big decisions facing a winner is 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
Once you have got over the initial surprise, received your money and decided whether to go public or not, the care does not dry up. The winners’ advisors will continue to provide support for as long as you need it, but you can start to enjoy the money and use it as you see fit.
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. It is a smooth process when you win and there are opportunities to play great games several times a week. 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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