What Happens When You Win the Lottery?
If you are lucky enough to win a large EuroMillions prize, there are a number of steps you need to go through before the money ends up in your bank account and you can start getting on with life as a millionaire. From first making contact with lottery officials to deciding whether to go public with your win, it is a simple process and you will receive assistance along the way, but it is useful to know exactly what lies in store.
For smaller prizes, winnings will be paid automatically if you played online. You can visit any authorised retailer to claim your prize if you bought your ticket from a store, or an affiliated Post Office for awards up to a certain amount. Go to the How to Claim page for more information.
How Long To Claim?
You have 180 days from the date of the draw to claim EuroMillions prizes in the UK. Whether you look at the results straight away or wait a while and check a few tickets at the same time, it is a good idea to work out when the prize will expire so you don’t miss out on any winnings.
Once you know your deadline, you can plan around that and take your time until you are ready to claim your money. You just need to make contact with the National Lottery before 180 days have passed, otherwise the prize money will be allocated to the lottery’s Good Causes Fund. If you have bought your ticket from a retailer, make sure to keep it in a safe place until you make your call.
First Contact With The National Lottery
To kick off the claims process, you need to call the National Lottery Customer Care Team on 0333 234 44 33 if you played online, or 0333 234 50 50 if you played in-store. The number is also on the back of your ticket.
The phone operators are used to receiving all sorts of lottery queries, and are trained not to react when they get a potential winner on the phone. They will start by asking you to provide some information about your ticket; not just the winning EuroMillions numbers but also various other numbers which help to identify when and where it was sold. They will be able to check their records and tell you whether or not it looks like you have a valid claim.
If all the information you provide matches their records, you will be asked to sign the back of your ticket so that nobody else could claim it if you lost it. They will then arrange for a validation appointment to take place at a time and place that suits you.
The Validation Appointment
You have to meet with National Lottery advisors in person to be able to claim a prize of more than £50,000. You will be welcome to have this meeting at your home, or you can travel to one of the lottery’s regional centres in Watford or Liverpool if you would feel more comfortable.
You can expect the appointment to take around two hours. You will need to provide two forms of identification, for example your passport and driving licence, as well as you’re signed winning ticket. The advisor will fill out all the necessary paperwork and answer any questions you might have.
Once the win has been validated, the money will be transferred as quickly as possible and it may only take a few hours. The advisors are so experienced that they can help you get in contact with financial experts, or even recommend which bank you might like to open an account with based on your personal situation.
Deciding Whether to Go Public
In the UK, you can choose to go public with your news or stay anonymous. It is entirely up to you which course of action to take, but one of the questions that you will be asked at your validation appointment will be about how many people you have already told, as it may help you to make up your mind.
Some winners prefer to keep their identity private and continue with their lives as normally as possible, but others find it a burden to keep a secret. Visit the Publicity page to learn more about the pros and cons, and find out what previous winners have done.
If you do opt for publicity, you will have to fulfil various media obligations, including a winner’s ceremony, during which your name will be released to the wider world and you will be asked questions about your life and plans for the money.
Whether you decide to go public or not, the National Lottery will continue to be on hand to provide support. They do not simply make the sure the money is transferred and then forget about you, as they know that it can take time to adjust to life as a big winner. They will be available to offer advice for as long as you want it, but they will always emphasise that it is up to you to do whatever you want with your money.
As life goes on and you adapt to your new financial circumstances, there are a few tax implications for you to keep in mind. While lottery winnings in the UK are not taxed, the interest on your win will be subject to income tax. If you wish to gift some of your money to others, they may also have to pay inheritance tax if you die within seven years of sharing the money. See the Taxes page to learn more.