After a big multi-million win how long would you wait to come forward?


It always fascinates me to see how long some of the really big winners take to come forward to claim their big jackpots.  So I'm just curious of my fellow members here,  how long would you take to come forward and why?  Please explain.


I'd wait about 5 or 6 years, just to make sure I had the best lawyers on my side.

tnlotto1's avatar - logo

i voted to come forward after consulting legal advice and financial advice. i also know it can take 2-6 weeks for the lottery to receive all of the money from the other states involved in the game so there would be no rush to show up before they can actually wire me the money. if it wasnt a multi state game and just in my state jackpot then i would show up after i have my legal and financial advice because it shouldnt take as long to wire me the money without having to wait on other states...Guitar

LuckyLilly's avatar - savy chick.png

I'd consult an attorney first, then how long it would take depends on what the attorney I consulted tells me.

I'm hoping that I can change my name before claiming, and the lottery would only release the new name.  I'd have my attorney check on that.  I'd be happy to give the lottery my old name if they need to check to make sure I don't owe taxes or child support, but if they will give the press only my new name, then it would be 2 - 3 months before I could get the name change and claim the jackpot.  No photos or news conference, of course.

If it turns out the lottery will release any and all names I've used in the last 6 months, then I wouldn't bother changing it and I'd claim the jackpot within 2 - 3 weeks, after I had consulted an attorney and a tax attorney/CPA, and had the chance to move to a different residence and get my phone changed to go directly to a voice mailbox. 


I voted to wait for the attention to die down. There will always be another news story  to help fade peoples memories. That would give you time to talk to all the people you need to. Changing your address to get an updated Drivers Licence for the id required to claim your winnings seems to me a wise step. Find a temporary place to receive mail in a different city and get a new one.  Once you claim your prize it will be THAT city released to the press with your name. It would certainly cut down the local press in your home town. I would not actually have moved and would claim if anyone picked up on the similar name "Thats not me". Living low-key during that time would also be prudent. If it all fell apart - oh well - all the way to the bank! In Michigan your name and city are released, you are given a check - no wire transfers - , you will always pay Michigan taxes if you pick the annuity - no matter where you move to.


  I would claim the winning ticket on a really big news day, like the death of a really notorious celebrity, i.e. Anna Nicole Smith.   

Guru101's avatar - rw6jhh

Even though I check my numbers the same night they get drawn, if I found out I won a jackpot, I would get up from my desk right then, pack up a couple days cloths, drive to Indianapolis, get a room at the Mariott, then in the morning, I would walk a few blocks over to the Hoosier Lottery Headquarters to claim my jackpot.Big Smile

tnlotto1's avatar - logo
In response to Guru101

i hope you wouldnt walk back to the hotel, at least get a cab so the nosey press wont know where you are going...Wink

JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

I would place my winning ticket in the bank with my revised will.  Take a quiet vacation for a month to relax and think about how to spend my moola. Give my stuff quietly away.  Claim my ticket within 3 months. 

Guru101's avatar - rw6jhh
In response to tnlotto1

Ya, I would take a cab back to the hotel. Once I got back, I would go to the Starbucks they have and get me a vanilla latte.Big Grin

tnlotto1's avatar - logo
In response to Guru101

what size tip would you leave the starbucks person???Cheers


I'd wait til I could get a "redneck Make-over" some real redneck clothes, a place at a trailer park, some job that people think is a redneck type job.... then I would go claim the money... and say

"Nope it's not gonna change us at all, we're gonna still live down ta the trailer court heh heh heh heh heh ha. Ain't gonna quit my job.......  I'd get bored heh heh heh heh ha....  Gonna buy the company and give everyone a raise heh heh heh heh ha...      buy everyone in the trailer court a new vehicle heh heh heh heh heh heh ha.... and hire Kid Rock to come do a concert at the trailer court heh heh heh heh heh ha...... "

stuff like that just to p*iss people off.....     

after making that scene ain't no one gonna even think I was the one who won...... lol

disclaimer: I wouldn't really do all of that. Also the particulars are based on preconcieved sterotypical notions of redneck living and not meant to offend anyone who lives at a trailer park or likes Kid Rock.

Guru101's avatar - rw6jhh
In response to tnlotto1

Not too much. Probably $5, which is really more than enough, but since I'll be in a good mood, that'll be enough. I'm going to treat myself, but I'm not going to throw a bunch of money at everyone I come across. I want to have some self control from the very beginning.

Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg

I voted wait til the commotion died down. 

But I'd defintiely collect before Dec 21 2012 (Google 12-21-2012 + Mayan Prophecy) 

If my wife and I had to appear for a press conference, we'd wear gorilla suits and masks, like Ernie Kovacs' Nairobi Trio.

BaristaExpress's avatar - BaristaExpressMX zpsfb0d8b5d.png

I voted "I'd collect ASAP". I know some here are saying "What A Dummy!" But hold on for a second or two. Why let Any financial adviser know what you're worth before you have the money or before you negotiate on their fees? Most financial advisor's go by what they feel they can charge you and of course that's tied to what your total net worth is. So, why over pay them before they do anything for you? I'd make their fees coincide with their performance. I make money, they get a percentage. I lose money, they get zero. They will work for me and not for themselves!

Last31Page 2 of 5
In response to BaristaExpress

Most people probably buy their tickets, check them to see if they are correct and put them someplace until the drawing or they see the winning numbers. And if most people are like me, the majority of their tickets are losers. All losing tickets and winning tickets are worthless until it's signed, scanned and verified by a lottery terminal. 

"I voted "I'd collect ASAP". I know some here are saying "What A Dummy!"

Some people are saying they would wait and contact a lawyer first; sounds like a great idea, but while the attorneys in my phone book specialize in many legal areas, I can't find one that specializes in validating jackpot winnings. However I did find many that will draw up a trust so it that's what the winner wants to do, it's worth waiting.

For those who don't mind having their names in the spotlights, they still need to formulate a plan because they should expect a large number of "well-wishers" by phone and at their front door. But either way that piece of paper with numbers they keep looking at, is worthless until it's validated.

I wonder how many jackpot winners change their minds on how to spend their winnings while waiting for the check. Does it really make sense to endorse the check to a financial adviser so they can decide how you spend your money?

justxploring's avatar - villiarna

I don't think when you collect the money makes a difference to the media unless there is a story that will receive more attention like a major disaster.  I might just collect it within a couple of weeks.  I can always make plans later.  If I won one our state Lotto, we only have 60 days from the date of the drawingto take the cash, so it would definitely be in less than 2 months if I knew I didn't want annual payments.

For people who might wait a long time, keep in mind that every day you don't have that money in some kind of interest bearing account or investment, you are losing thousands a day.  For example $20 million at only 5.5% is over $91K per month.  (this is why I can't understand all the people who talk about investing a huge PB win to make billions. Ya can't live on $91,000 a month in interest?)

I already know that I wouldn't just drive to Tallahassee the following day because I'd want to move before claiming the prize, so I'd first look for a nice home somewhere else, although I guess I could rent for a short time to get to know an area before making a commitment.  So, when I've thought about what I'd do, I usually figure on about 4 to 6 weeks so I can let family know I'm moving and take care of any local business.  I don't have to tell anyone why right away, just that I found a new position somewhere else.


Banana well  people  can  say  what-ever-they  want  Now  but  when the  news  comes  in  on  a  multi-milliondollar  windfall  I  can  bet  you  they  will  crap  in  their  pants  and  be  scared crapless ;

Then  comes  the  phone-calls  and  Blabber-mouth syndrome, they  wont  be  able  to  hold it in  and  tell  the  world  the  good  news  to  any one  who  will  listen.......if  you  got  the  time  a  lawyer  and  PCA  would  come  in  handy  for  taxes ; But hold  it  for  a  month  no  way  its  not  possible !!!!! Sad Cheers   

In response to justxploring

Banana well  people  can  say  what-ever-they  want  Now  but  when the  news  comes  in  on  a  multi-milliondollar  windfall  I  can  bet  you  they  will  crap  in  their  pants  and  be  scared crapless ;

Then  comes  the  phone-calls  and  Blabber-mouth syndrome, they  wont  be  able  to  hold it in  and  tell  the  world  the  good  news  to  any one  who  will  listen.......if  you  got  the  time  a  lawyer  and  PCA  would  come  in  handy  for  taxes ; But hold  it  for  a  month  no  way  its  not  possible !!!!! Sad Cheers   

mylollipop's avatar - Trek STLOGO6.png

I would wait awhile for the commotion to die down all the while consulting attorneys and tax advisor's.  My percentage to the church has already been determined as well as to other causes as follows:

  1. 20% to the church
  2. 35% to other charitable causes
  3. 40% to invest or do as financial advisor's suggest
  4. 10% for me and my family 
  5. 5% for incidentals, which might end up with charitable causes or grants for those would-be-give-me's, who want to do this and that with my winnings.  Probably a limit of $1000.00 seed money with a good business plan.  LOL

Blue Angel

justxploring's avatar - villiarna
In response to mylollipop
  1. 10% for me and my family 


You won't have that 10% for you & your family.  You already spent 100% of your money!  20 + 35 + 40 + 5 = 100%

MADDOG10's avatar - smoke
In response to mylollipop

What do you honestly think giving 20% to the church is going to get you????

A better seat on Sunday, or a special place in heaven?

Neither is real. Take the money and invest it for your family on the advice of a solid financial planner.....

In response to MADDOG10

The spanish maids named Maria will have front row in heaven.

People like me will have nose-bleed seats at an altitude of about 300 feet



After talking to the lawyer and accountant, I would claim the money and convert most of it into hard currency (gold, silver and platinum). Paper money is dangerous right about now.  

time*treat's avatar - radar
In response to pacattack05

I thought heaven was spanish maids named Maria. Big Grin Angel

Or they dress up like a maid and let you call 'em 'Maria'

Thinking of...

Looks like I'm not the only one who's not trusting in paper "money".


Probably about 4 weeks.  Also for the comment that heaven is not real, there are only 2 choices to be made before you leave here.  The question was about a lottery win not if heaven was real or not.  That person said nothing about your beliefs at all.  Some opinions are just that you have no evidance that it dose not exist.  Have something to back you up, I have a bible and thousands of years of proof.  Good Luck, DLD

BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png

All the contingency plans in the world won't help me when I've got that winning ticket in my hand.  I'll likely be a basket case.  Will the house burn down, be robbed, the pocket I've hidden it in be sent to Good Will?  Sooner the lottery has the ticket and the cash in my bank the better.  Can't think of anyone I could tell that would keep the secret, better not to have any.  BobP

btw: The supposedly correct answer is to wait until someone else wins and collects, then you're just an old story.  By then you should have been to the lawyer if you need to create a family trust.

In response to MIlottoplayer

all acording to the size of the jack  1 mill who cares go claim it and brag Jester 200 mill you better not let anyone find out they kidnap your relitives just to get a chunck  ((or other scary stuff)) with that kinda scratch around  so i would have to say  it would take longer to claim a giant jack than a smaller one for meI Agree!

justxploring's avatar - villiarna

I thought about this question again when someone won the last big FL jackpot of $33M.  He came forward early Monday morning so obviously he didn't have time to contact an attorney or a financial planner.  However, when I thought about it, since it takes weeks to actually get your money, why not validate your ticket and take off the way he did?  This man's Dad had just passed away so he flew to Cuba to be with his family.  Before he bought the ticket, he didn't even have enough for plane fare or to pay for the funeral, according to the newspaper. Perhaps he used a credit card or borrowed the money, knowing he'd soon have plenty to pay back the loan. (see news article on LP)

Anyway, I always say "wait a while" but the more I think about it, the 3 or 4 weeks it takes to get the money should be plenty of time to make important financial decisions.  Personally, I would want to move first, but I could always rent a cottage on the beach while I'm making plans.

RJOh's avatar - chipmunk
In response to MADDOG10

That's one of those pre-win commitments that many players make thinking that the lottery spirits love a generous givers and will favor them as the winner.  Do you really believe anyone would give 20% to church,35% to charity and only keep 10% of their winnings for themselves and family?  Once the player wins, the commitment can't be enforce and will be forgotten.

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