What to do with a Winning Lottery Ticket

If you haven’t done so already, calm down, take a deep breath, find a decent pen, and sign the back of your lottery ticket. Then, accurately and neatly print any other personal information that may be required. Let the ink dry before further handling the ticket.

Note: If you are under the legal gambling age, a fugitive from the law, not in the country legally, or are an immediate family member of or live with an employee of the lottery, do NOT sign your ticket before consulting with an attorney. In certain cases, people who work where lottery tickets are sold should also exercise additional caution.

Make copies by photocopying both sides of the lottery ticket. For added assurance, you may also wish to take close-up photographs of the ticket before attempting to copy it. Now, find an appropriate place to keep your ticket and photocopies. These should be put in separate locations.

Keep it flat and dry. Make sure to keep your lottery ticket away from anything that could potentially damage it including liquids and pets. Note that keeping the lotto ticket in your wallet for an extended length of time could fade or distort the ink from repeated rubbing. A better idea would be to flatten out the ticket and sandwich it inside a hardcover book.

Store it somewhere safe. If you happen to have a safe deposit box at your bank, that would be a great place to keep your winning lottery ticket. But if you don’t have this option or do not feel comfortable being that far away from your ticket, there are plenty of places you can keep it in your home. Ideally, you want to store it in something that locks (and preferably something fireproof). A safe, a locking file cabinet, or a tool chest would all be good options.

Don’t rush to cash it in. Determine how long you have to claim your prize after winning. This is frequently written on the back of your lottery ticket, but a quick visit to the lottery organization’s website will usually tell you quite a bit of information. Most lotteries give you at least a month to inform them you won (and usually much longer).

The time you spend preparing to be rich can be invaluable. Lottery attorneys and financial advisors can help you keep more money and often maintain your privacy. Your whole world is about to change. Make sure you are ready for it.