Powerball Winner Still Hasn't Claimed $590M Prize in Florida

Monday, 03 Jun 2013 08:35 AM

By Michael Mullins

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The Powerball winner, who has in their possession a piece of paper worth $590 million, remains a mystery two weeks after the lottery drawing.

In lieu of knowing who the winner is, rumors have begun spreading about the small Florida town where the winning ticket was drawn.

Residents of Zephyr Hills, Fla., told USA Today that the winner is thought to be a "young girl who works at Wal-Mart."

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The Powerball winner, whoever it is, has until July 17 to receive a lump sum cash payout, and until Nov. 14 if they want the cash annuity or jackpot paid out over multiple years, USA Today reports.

If the Powerball winner does not come forward, the prize would be dispersed among those states which sell Powerball, which means Florida, which sells roughly ten percent of all Powerball tickets, would get $59 million.

In the past, lottery winners have delayed coming forward in order to properly prepare themselves for the life-style changing cash infusion.

Forbes magazine provided a ten part list of steps all lotto winners should take before turning in their ticket.

Among the top recommendations Forbes suggests for lotto winners are:
- See a tax pro before you cash the ticket
- Assemble a team of legal and financial advisers
- Create or review your estate plan

Other suggestions offered by Forbes include:
- Avoiding sudden lifestyle changes
- Paying off all one's debts
- Taking steps to protect one's assets
- Investing prudently
- Living within a budget

If possible, Forbes also suggests remaining anonymous if one's state lotto allows it.
First and foremost, if you do find yourself lucky enough to ever possess a winning lottery ticket, the first thing you should do is sign the back of the ticket says Carolyn Hapeman, a spokeswoman for The New York Lottery.

Hapeman tells Forbes that the ticket represents a "bearer instrument," which means whoever has possession of the ticket and has a photo ID can claim the prize.

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"That's a $590 million piece of paper and we're hopeful that someone kept it and didn't throw it away, but without the ticket, there's no way we can award the prize warns," warns David Bishop of the Florida Lottery.

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