Ever wondered how lottery winners are paid their money or who looks after them? The UK National Lottery recently profile one of their Winners Advisers, Andy Carter, to offer lottery players a glimpse of their role.
From the moment they realize they've won to actually getting their prize money, UK lottery winners are looked after every step of the way by their dedicated team of Winners' Advisers. It is their job to support winners through the entire process so they can begin to enjoy their life-changing win.
Last month the UK lottery asked it's players (via Facebook and Twitter) what questions they would most like to ask Andy... and here are the answers.
Q: How do you help winners keep their feet on the ground?
Our first piece of advice is to always take your time, do nothing in haste and have a holiday, so you can allow the news to sink in.
Winners are often in deep shock in the initial days after the win, but we often find that their family and friends play an important role in keeping their feet on the floor, as despite the win, family life tends to go on as normal.
The vast majority of winners are very grounded and just want to ensure the win lasts them as long as possible, and that they can leave a legacy to future generations.
Q: Does the money go into a special account so that the win is tax free?
There is no tax on the win itself, but if the win produces an income through interest, then that will be taxed as part of your normal income tax.
For wins of more than £500,000 we recommend that winners choose a private bank — all high street banks have private arms that deal with high net worth individuals, and some banks even have a small team of people that just deal with lottery winners! We have contacts with all the major banks and arrange for someone to attend the validation meeting to set up a special account.
Q: What do you with your spare time.... seeing as you have the easiest job in the world?
I would certainly say it's the best job in the world! There are seven Winners' Advisors in total, and we are based all over the UK. Last year we saw around 1,500 big winners, and when we aren't visiting their homes to validate claims, we are chairing follow up meetings for them with lawyers and financial experts, or attending press conferences or media events. Not forgetting answering questions on Facebook and Twitter!
Q: What's the most zeros you've written out on a cheque?
I had the great pleasure of dealing with Colin and Christine Weir from Largs in Scotland who won £161,653,000 in July 2011, making them Britain's and Europe's biggest lottery winners!
Q: If the winners wanted anonymity instead of going public, would you still advise them?
Absolutely yes. It's entirely the winner's decision if they want to share news of their win. We have an aftercare programme in place to ensure that all winners have access to legal and financial advice.
It's often the case that when a winner decides to remain anonymous, we are the only people that know about their win so we keep in touch with them for as long as they want to. Often they like to talk to someone or just let us know what they have been up to.
Q: Do you ever feel jealous?
No, not at all. People have won substantial amounts of money through luck. It's a real privilege to be part of their life at a time that they will never ever forget.
Q: How many sugars in your tea for when you come to visit?
Just black coffee for me, Alex — look forward to meeting you next week.
Q: How does it feel not being able to participate?
Working for Camelot does mean we are unable to play, but you'll find that it's the same for similar types of organisations — it's just part of the role! Everyone here is extremely proud that on average over £33 million is raised each week for National Lottery Projects, which has helped change the lives of people and communities all over the UK for the past 20 years.
On a personal note, it is fantastic to be let into winners' lives for a short period of time and be able to guide them through the initial stages of a life-changing event. It's fantastic to go back to them later to see just how their win has changed their lives and the lives of their family.
Q: What would you do with your winnings?
Don't for one second think that this hasn't ever crossed my mind! First of all, a nice holiday somewhere warm and relaxing so that I can make a plan. I'd buy a bigger house, invest for the future, put money aside for my children's future (no uni debt or house deposit problems for them!) gift money to other family members (what's the point of your having money to do things if those closest to you can't afford to come with you), and go in style to any sporting event I choose!
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Thanks to myturn for the tip.