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  • In February 2015 in North Carolina, a 26-year-old mother of four children was one of three winners

  • of a huge Powerball jackpot - totaling $564 million dollars.

  • The chances of that happening were one in 175 Million.

  • So how does the lottery work?

  • And what should you do if you win?

  • Well, in America, only 44 states have lotteries, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico

  • and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

  • The other US states exclude themselves for various reasons, like religious objections

  • or, in Nevada's case, the fact that they already have other gambling agencies.

  • Lotteries are mostly government-run, and state officials use part of the proceeds towards

  • funding things like education.

  • Across the country, lottery sales totalled 70 billion dollars for the year 2014.

  • So what happens if you actually win big in the lottery?

  • After signing your ticket, make sure to get a photo and video of yourself with it.

  • Then, usually there is a number you can call to identify yourself as the winner.

  • However, you don't have to come in to claim the prize just yet.

  • Depending on the lottery and the state you're in, sometimes you have up to a year to claim

  • the prize.

  • In fact, financial advisors usually recommend that you wait.

  • Before you claim the prize, you need to have a few things figured out.

  • Do you want the annuity prize or the cash lump sum?

  • What are you going to say to the press?

  • Do you want to remain anonymous, and is it even possible in your state?

  • Find a lawyer or a certified financial planner - or both, and possibly a press agent to help

  • you figure out the details.

  • If you win the lottery, you can be offered the annuity prize or thecashprize.

  • The annuity is listed at a higher face value, because it's invested in safe bonds, and

  • the prize money is released to you over time.

  • However, most people take the cash lump sum amount.

  • On paper, it seems drastically lower than the annuity prize, but most people think they

  • can invest the money themselves and make a higher overall profit.

  • Usually, taxes hit lotto-winners hard.

  • The IRS alone can take away up to 40% of the prize money.

  • Then, you can face an additional state tax.

  • Mega Millions reports that only about half a dozen states don't tax lottery winnings.

  • If you live in New York City, you may be paying one of the highest state taxes on lotto winnings

  • at around 13%.

  • In 2012, the odds were lowered for the major state lotteries, and jackpots have been climbing

  • to astronomical levels.

  • The largest jackpot ever won in US history was in 2012, at $656 million dollars.

  • But before you start buying tons of lottery tickets -- just remember that the odds of

  • getting struck by lightning are much, much higher..

  • America has a rich history of people hunting for treasure in one way or another.

  • On our brand new show Seeker, I tell the story of how one of the greatest treasure hunters

  • of all time got a lot more than he was expecting, and his life took a nasty turn.

  • / / This new show is just getting started, so please click here to subscribe, and you'll

  • be the first to hear every single new story.

  • Thanks!

In February 2015 in North Carolina, a 26-year-old mother of four children was one of three winners

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B1 INT US prize lottery annuity state claim lump

What Happens When You Win The Lottery?

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