What do I do once I've won the lottery?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

Okay, you've won the lottery. The first thing you have to do is keep it a secret. Take the ticket and put it in a book, in the middle page, and then open your bottom bureau drawer, pull it all the way out, and place the book on the floor beneath the drawer (because if there is a freak fire at your house, the inside of books do not burn, just the edges). Next, you need to copy it on a xerox machine or a scanner on your home computer; if you don't have one, and need to go somewhere like a store to copy it, do this; when you get a chance, get a big manila envelope and put your mailing address and stamps on it, and put the book inside it, so if it happens to get lost it will get sent back to you. Once you have the copy, put the book back under your bureau. Next you have to guard your identity. You need to go to your nearest county courthouse and get a form to change your name, legally. It usually takes 30 days and costs $100.00. All but 3 states (N. Dak, Kansas and S. Carolina) require you to publish your name in the public media when you claim the prize so you need to change your name, otherwise, all your neighbors will be coming up to your door and trying to kidnap your dog for ransom. Then if you don't have to to the publicity photo session, don't, but if you do, get a wig and lots of makeup and baggy clothes and a hat, so your family won't recognize you. Once you file your claim with the lottery office in your state, their office will have many recommended lawyers and financial advisors and accountants for you to consider. Many people think the cash option is best, but the 25 year annuity is really the best option because its more money and if by chance anyone tries to trick you out of some of it, you'll be fine again in a year. It will be really hard not to scream at the top of your lungs and tell all those nasty people at work to kiss your feet, but this is the real test of fortitude! Don't do it. This period of time is the only real time you will have to find out who your real friends are. Go to a nearby town and get a new bank account in your new name (you can always change your name back after the lotto publicity). Deposit it quietly. If you do splurge on something you can tell people you had some good luck, that's all. Most of all, look back on the people that have been in your life before, and the ones you would have shared it with that have since let you down; would you want to be with someone who was only there for the money? So when at all possible, keep the money a secret. If you want to help people, its best to do it anonymously, for your own safety.

submitted by Jane-The-Pain Doe