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What happens to Powerball winnings if you die?

Posted: 1:28 PM, Jan 08, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-09 16:49:40Z

With the Powerball jackpot on Saturday soaring to $900 million -- the largest jackpot in history -- eager players are lining up outside lottery retailers, taking their slim chances at winning the life-changing amount of cash.

The current jackpot  has been growing since Nov. 7, and there was an unsuccessful drawing Wednesday night. Saturday night will mark the next drawing and, hopefully, a lucky winner.
 
And whoever that winner is will have two options – receiving their $900 million jackpot (before taxes, of course) through annual payments for 29 years, or opting to take a $558 million lump sum.
 
If you’ve found yourself asking “What happens if an annuity Powerball winner dies during those 29 years?” – you’re not the only one. Buzz surrounding the current jackpot has plenty of people wondering, and the answer is posted right online.
 
A common rumor is that the prize goes back to the state once a winner passes away. But that is simply not true – it will be passed on to the winner’s heirs.
 
Powerball explains on its website ...
 
“The estate will handle the lottery prize. A lottery annuity prize is just like any other asset. You can pass any remaining annuity payments on to your heirs or to anyone else. The Powerball game will even cash out an annuity prize for an estate. This may make it easier for the estate to distribute the prize. It also may be necessary to cash out the annuity to pay Federal estate taxes. We will sell some or all of the securities at competitive bid or will even just transfer the securities to the estate. We do not charge a fee of any kind. “
 
So where’s the confusion coming from?
 
Powerball further notes that this misunderstanding “may come from the response that the prize ‘goes to the Estate’ and some people hear ‘goes to the State.’”
 
So fear not! If you’re the lucky person to walk away a multi-millionaire, your family and friends will reap the benefits for a very long time.