|Posted: January 8, 2009, 2:30 am - IP Logged|
I don't need to take oyur word. We all know that death and taxes are the only things that are certain (though I'm willing to consider that technology could change the death part).
"The value of the ticket is $1."
That's only true before the drawing. After the drawing it's worth nothing or it's worth the value of any prize it won. If you give a ticket to somebody it's a gift. That's what a gift is, after all. The question is how much the gift is worth, and in the case of a winning lottery ticket that depends on when the gift was made. In terms of any gift tax obligations, there's no difference between giving somebody a ticket that has won $1 million and giving them $1 million.
As I read it, there are no gifts involved in this case. The husband bought the ticket on behalf of both of them, so the wife was an original owner. At worst, she then inherited her husband's half interest in the ticket. If we figure that the inheritance took place at the time of death (though it could take a while to probate the estate), the value of the ticket was still only $1. It only increased in value after ownership had changed. The article implies that the ticket isn't being treated as part of the estate, and I'd assume it will stay that way. If it were treated as part of the estate, it should still be valued at $1, and it's unlikely a will would be written in such a way that the primary beneficiary (presumably the wife) wouldn't inherit full interest in the ticket. In this case I can't really imagine anything other than the wife simply paying income tax on the value of the prize, just as if she had bought it herself the day after he died. OTOH, I can't conceive of any benefit to making a public announcement that somebody else bought the ticket.