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Conn. man's last lotto ticket wins $10M for widow

Topic closed. 31 replies. Last post 8 years ago by KY Floyd.

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justxploring's avatar - villiarna
Wandering Aimlessly
United States
Member #25360
November 5, 2005
4461 Posts
Posted: January 7, 2009, 6:10 am - IP Logged

Okay, okay.   I wanted to keep my post simple, so I didn't get into all the "what ifs" and was only referring to the lottery and other similar gifts.  I assume she's a US Citizen.  They've been married for 59 years.  AFAIK a spouse normally would not pay estate tax.  However, since I just went through this (on a much, much smaller scale!) when a relative died, I realize nothing is set in stone and anyone can contest a will or something the deceased left behind.  Yes, I agree that a trust is a good way to avoid probate or a lawsuit, but even that doesn't always guarantee you won't have trouble with a difficult person.  Take my word for it!

Anyway, if a ticket has never been cashed, then why is it a gift in the first place?  There have been many cases where someone gives a winning ticket away and it is never taxed as a gift.  The value of the ticket is $1.  You can always give a winning ticket away.  It's only cheating if you are specifically doing it to avoid paying taxes.  He obviously didn't know it was worth any more when he bought it.  Who ends up claiming it is irrelevant IMO.  A house has real value, so that is entirely different.  I do not believe a ticket has any real value until it is validated and claimed.

    United States
    Member #23835
    October 16, 2005
    3474 Posts
    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.