Lottery pool rules: protecting your interests

Rules to follow when taking lottery pool plunge

By Tony Statz - Producer

The Mega Millions jackpot has kept growing and growing to more than half a BILLION dollars.

With that much money on the line, millions of Americans are hoping Lady Luck will smile on their tickets this week.

Many of you might team with family, coworkers, or friends to buy more tickets and promise to share the jackpot.

It's a lot of fun until money becomes involved and then things change, said Karen Liddle, an attorney with Macuga, Liddle, and Dubin. She sat down with Ruth to the Rescue to outline some of the basic steps you should take before jumping into a lottery pool. The first step is the kind of advice you hear all the time: put an agreement in writing.

"An oral agreement is not worth the paper its not written on. It's not going to be adhered to in a court of law," said Liddle.

Cover Basic Lottery Questions

Liddle suggests any lottery agreement should cover at least four main areas. First, make sure its very clear who's actually included in the pool.Make a complete list of participants and make that list public, whether its posted in the office or sent via email.

"You don't want someone to come back and say that they contributed and wanted a share of the earnings or winnings and find out they never did," said Karen Liddle, an attorney with Macuga, Liddle, and Dubin.

The written agreement should also cover:

*How much will each person contribute?
*Will the jackpot be taken in a lump sum or annual payments?
*How will the winnings be divided?
*If someone contributes less, will the take a smaller share of the winnings?

Then, "You definitely want all the participants to read that agreement, sign and date it," advises Liddle.

Advice Not Seen On TV

While those are the basic questions that should be answered in a lottery pool agreement, there are even more considerations.

*Will the members of your pool want to stay anonymous, if they win?
*If you don't win the jackpot, but win a smaller amount, what happens to that money?
*If you roll over your winnings and contribute additional money, how does that impact the list of participants?
*Does the lottery pool agreement cover just one drawing, or are you setting up a weekly or monthly club?
*How will the numbers be selected?
*What games will be played?
*Can the person buying the tickets buy other tickets for him or herself?

Of course, before you form any lottery club at the workplace, make sure your human resources department allows you do to so.

Finally, Liddle has one more piece of advice about lottery pools that's priceless.

"Only do it people that you know and you trust. And, you can count on that they will follow through with what they're supposed to do, if you actually win!"

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