GREENSBORO, N.C. — Think about it, someone here in North Carolina heard Dr. Mandy Cohen tell them, "Congratulations, you won the North Carolina vaccine lottery."
No doubt there was a Zoom call involved, this is 2021, right?
But once you hear those words, then what? There's no shortage of meetings with the lottery office, the governor's press office, there's paperwork to fill out of course. All of this happens long before you hold that big check and people see it on TV.
Before you hold that big check and show everyone your winnings, you should do a few things. State Farm talks about what to do if you win the lottery. There are certain things you should do if your prize includes a winning ticket, but then the recommendations about teams and money are the same.
Before you claim your money, you’ll need to set up a team. That could include a lawyer if you’re looking at privacy issues. However, in the case of the vaccine lottery, this doesn’t apply as much because you have to be willing to be identified to get the money.
An accountant and a financial advisor are next. There are plenty of lawyers and advisors who specialize in lottery winnings. You want to make sure you do what’s best for you when it comes to taxes and such, don’t try and figure that out on your own.
Make a general plan. State Farm’s recommendations include writing down your personal, financial, lifestyle, and family and charity goals. This helps keep you on track and gives the financial advisor a big picture of how best to help you.
Next, the big decision of do you take a lump sum or spread it out over the years? Again, in the case of the vaccine lottery, you must take it all in one lump sum.
2WTK talked with Kurt Panouses, a CPA and attorney who has worked with around 20 lottery winners since 1991. He said it’s best to get a second phone that only your close family members have the money. Panouses said anyone who has your other numbers can be persuaded to give it away.
Also, he recommends taking a vacation or being out of town for at least the week after you tell the world you won the lottery, and don’t forget the security cameras you must now install!