Are Lottery Winners Required to Reveal Their Identities?



Why Would Lottery Winners Want to Keep Their Names Hidden?

Lottery winners should keep a close eye on their surroundings.

Craig B won $434,272 in a Georgia lottery in November 2015. Burch was assassinated at his house by seven masked men two months later. His family members claimed he became a target when the lottery wins were made public.

Abraham Shakespeare was the winner of a $30 million lottery jackpot in 2006. Dorice “Dee Dee” Moore approached him two years later, claiming she was writing a book about how people were taking advantage of him. She quickly rose through the ranks of his financial adviser, steadily siphoning off his funds. She finally killed him and buried him in her backyard under a concrete slab.

Only seven states, including Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Texas, Ohio, and South Carolina, currently enable lottery winners to remain anonymous. Six states also allow people to set up a trust to receive prize money in an anonymous manner. The state of California prohibits lottery winners from remaining nameless.

The winner of the $560 million Powerball jackpot is suing to remain anonymous.

In January, a woman from New Hampshire won $560 million in the Powerball lottery, the country’s eighth-highest jackpot. The winner’s name, town, and winning sum are all public records in New Hampshire. People in the state told her that because she signed the ticket in her own name, if someone asked about the winning drawing, they would have to give her name to the person who asked about it.

The lottery winner then learned from a lawyer that she might have avoided exposing her personal information by claiming the money through a trust. However, because she had already signed her name on the winning ticket, any changes to her signature would invalidate the $559.7 million prize. The winner has not yet turned in the winning ticket to lottery officials, which means she is losing out on almost $50,000 in interest (based on a 5% rate) for each day the ticket is not claimed.

If she’s concerned about public attention or safety, why isn’t this winner simply moving away from her hometown or state? According to her lawyer, she wants to give back to her community and “be a quiet witness to these good actions.” The New Hampshire winner has filed a lawsuit under the name “Jane Doe” in order to remain unknown. However, because of her case, she may end up getting even more attention.

If you win the lottery and wish to keep your identity hidden, look into the restrictions in your state. It’s possible that you’ll be able to claim the funds in the name of a trust. Then look for reputable advisors such as tax lawyers, trust and estate lawyers, and accountants.

Would you like to remain anonymous if you won a large jackpot? What are the advantages and disadvantages of going public?