What’s the Fuss About?
New Hampshire does not allow Powerball winners to remain anonymous, as there is a ‘Right to Know’ law in the state which ‘requires that the winner’s name, town and amount won be available for public information’. However, winners are allowed to set up trust funds, where a representative from the associated law firm will serve as trustee and claim the money. Setting up a trust fund effectively allows players to stay anonymous as only the name of the trust and trustee is revealed.
The problem for the latest New Hampshire winner was that she had already signed the back of her ticket before being advised by an attorney that she could have set up a trust. New Hampshire Lottery officials then told her that she would not be able to claim the money through a trust, and that any attempt to remove her signature from the ticket would make it invalid.
The winner, making herself known only as Jane Doe, decided to go to court to challenge the New Hampshire Lottery in a bid to claim the prize anonymously, and the matter remains unresolved
Claiming The Money
While the winner awaits a final verdict on whether she can stay anonymous, lawyers acting on her behalf have this week been allowed to bank the money. She chose the one-off lump sum of around $352 million rather than the annuity option, and her lawyers have announced that she plans to give between $25 million and $50 million to charity during her lifetime.
“My client doesn’t want any accolades, she doesn’t want any credit,” said lawyer William Shaheen. The organisation Girls Inc has already been given $150,000, while donations of $33,000 have been made to three chapters of the End 68 Hours of Hunger campaign in the state.
As the legal battle continues, Powerball players across the USA can look forward to the next big draw. The jackpot has not been given away since the New Hampshire player won in January and is now back up to $385 million.