Group Lottery Play: Who Claims Prizes and How?

Group Lottery Play: Who Claims Prizes and How?

Not only is playing the lottery with your friends a lot of fun, but it also provides fantastic opportunities for improving your winning odds. When money is involved, however, things can go south really fast. This is why you need to come up with an arrangement for claiming the prize in the event of winning.

Who carries the massive responsibility of cashing out the lottery ticket? Whose signature does it carry?

And what does it take to ensure fairness rather than having someone running off with the money?

Check Local Regulations

First and foremost, let’s deal with the boring legal stuff.

You have to check the rules and regulations of the lottery you’re playing. Depending on the location and the local jurisdiction, there will be specific information about the entity or entities that can come forward and make a prize claim.

In many parts of the world, the lottery ticket claimant will be limited to just one person who will be declared the lottery ticket winner. It’s up to the group after that to figure out how the amount is going to be divided.

Some countries and states do offer prize claims by multiple people. This, however, is more of an exception rather than the rule.

Written Contracts Are a Good Idea

Even if you’re friends or coworkers who have known each other for a long, long time, money can spoil relationships and contribute to serious problems. Going purely on trust is not an option when millions could be at stake.

To ensure peace of mind and a lot of fun when playing the lottery as a group, you may want to create a legally binding contract.

The contract should outline who the leader of the group is, who’s going to sign the ticket and claim the prize. Furthermore, it should stipulate how an award is going to be divided among the group members. These are all important considerations that should be outlined clearly.

A contract does not have to be complicated and full of legalizing. Just make sure everyone is on the same page as far as prize collection goes. Once all members of the group sign the contract, it becomes legally binding. In the event of a violation, group members could take matters to court and seek justice.

Consider Other Legal Protections

Once lottery tickets results become available, and you’ve found out that you have the winning numbers, it would be a dumb idea to base decisions on trust.

There are additional measures you can undertake to make sure you’re going to get your share of the prize.

In places where just one person can make the prize claim, your group could form a legal entity that will act as a single claimant.

A corporation or a limited liability company will suffice. These are typically very easy to set up, and you don’t have to spend a ton of money in the process. The winning ticket will be signed and claimed on behalf of the entity, after which asset division will occur among all of the members.

This is a good idea for groups that often buy lottery tickets together. Forming a company right from the start is the best way to enjoy the process without thinking about the eventual legal complications in the event of winning.

Once you have an entity, you can create a corporate contract that protects the rights and the shares of the individual. While this may seem a lot of work right off the bat (even when you’re not confident that you’re going to win anything), it can prevent massive problems down the line.

Troubles like those that occurred in 2012 when a group of McDonald’s workers ran in a bit of trouble after winning the jackpot.

Mirlande Wilson was responsible for buying the group tickets that McDonald’s coworkers pooled money on. Eventually, it became clear that one of the tickets had won the Mega Millions jackpot of 105 million dollars. Mirlande, however, said that the winning occurred via a ticket that she bought for herself and not through the tickets acquired for the group.

Mirlande refused to share the prize with her coworkers. The situation was very similar to the Americo Lopes story – Americo tried to screw five of his co-workers by claiming a jackpot of 24 million dollars on his own. Eventually, the court ordered Americo to divide the winnings with his coworkers, but it was a long and tiresome journey.

Eventually, Mirlande’s story deepened. Regardless of claims that she’d won, she refused to show that winning ticket. When the real winners of the jackpot came forward, it was proven that Mirlande was lying. The real winners were a group of three who had bought 60 tickets, each one worth 20 dollars.

Due to the Mirlande controversy, the actual winners hired attorneys and financial consultants to make sure their prize was protected.

Trust Is a Good Thing, but You Have to Protect Your Winnings

People can change fast when a lot of money is involved in a relationship. While trusting your friends is a good idea, it can leave you with nothing in the event of winning a massive jackpot prize.

To prevent issues like the Mirlande and Americo story, have the person responsible for buying lottery tickets, make copies for all members of the group. This way, everyone will know exactly what tickets have been purchased collectively and separately from individual ticket acquisitions.

If you do a few simple things in advance, you’ll have no reason to worry. You may want to consult an attorney as a group, especially if you’re going to turn this interaction into a long-term thing. A lawyer will give you a better idea about the local lottery prize claim regulations and what steps have to be undertaken to protect your share of an eventual prize.

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