Getting a winning lottery ticket is exciting. But it isn’t the only way to become wealthy. In fact, the power of the lottery to ruin a life is very real. Whether you win big or small, there are a few things to keep in mind before you rush to the lottery office to claim your prize.
The first thing you should do is to research your state’s lottery rules. If your state requires you to publicize your winnings, you may want to form a blind trust to keep your name out of the spotlight. You may also want to consider holding a news conference to let the public know that you won.
Another rule to keep in mind is the length of time you have to claim your prize. The time period varies by state and type of prize.
The biggest prize in lottery history is the $314 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. Jack Whittaker of West Virginia won the prize. He donated the money to a local strip club, strangers, and his church.
Another winner went on a spending spree. He blew through his $27 million in less than five years. His wife also spent $27 million on drugs and luxury cars.
Willie Hurt of Michigan won $3.1 million in the lottery in 1989. His addiction to cocaine and crack put his fortune in jeopardy. He divorced his wife two years later and lost custody of their children. He ended up working on a farm and doing manual labor. He also ended up in jail for attempted murder.