Now that we know the winning $759 million Powerball ticket was sold in Massachusetts, how long will it be until we find out the name of the winner? The person who won this Powerball has the single largest-winning lottery ticket in the history of North American lotteries. That’s a pretty big deal.
There’s a chance we might never know the winner’s name.
The person who won the lottery must claim the prize at the Lottery Headquarters in Braintree, Massachusetts. Five percent will be withheld and sent to the Mass. Department of Revenue and 25 percent will be sent to the Internal Revenue Service. According to Massachusetts law, winners have one year to claim their prize money. One person waited until just hours before that deadline to claim his wins. (If you win a Massachusetts lottery, call the Lottery Headquarters to make sure this deadline is still in effect and hasn’t been changed or moved up.)
As of February 2016, a total of nearly $57 million went unclaimed in Massachusetts lottery prize money, due to tickets expiring without the buyers ever claiming their wins. Last year, a dozen of those winning tickets were for $10,000.
But that’s not the only reason why you might never hear the winner’s name. In Massachusetts, you can keep your identity a secret if you win by forming a lottery trust, McNamara & Yates P.C. reported. The trustee will hold the legal title of the lottery property, while the beneficiary (the winner) holds the equitable title. Typically, the winner assigns a professional attorney as the trustee and picks someone unaffiliated with them in order to help keep their identity a secret.
In other words, if the winner wishes to remain anonymous, he or she can do so by using a trust to claim the prize instead of claiming it personally. He or she can also wait nearly a year to claim the prize, when all the hype about the winner’s name has died down and people have moved on to other interests.