It is a scenario all of us who have ever bought a Lottery ticket will have played out in our minds.
The winning numbers rest in the palm of your hand and then the mind starts to whirr: What will I buy? Shall I tell anyone? Who do I call?
Cassey Carrington and Matt Topham found themselves in that fortunate position on Tuesday night. Aged just 22 they won £45,160,170.50 with a Lucky Dip ticket in the EuroMillions draw. So what happens after those golden numbers come up?
Yahoo! News went behind the scenes to find out how winners are advised through those first momentous hours and the following days.
First things first
You've triple-checked the numbers and checked your eyesight, now you make the call to the Camelot Group, the EuroMillions UK operator.
That's when you get a visit from a lottery representative to check over the ticket. For larger claims Camelot has six winners’ advisors ready to disperse across the UK at a moment's notice to head out and verify the claims. Anyone who scoops more than £350,000 is then given access to a follow-up meeting with a winner's panel. This consists of a Camelot representative, a legal adviser and a financial adviser, which takes place a couple of weeks after the claim is verified.
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“The purpose of these meeting is to ensure that winners have access to expert, independent advice,” Andy Carter told Yahoo! News. The senior winners’ adviser added: “The meetings are quite tightly regulated as the advisers don’t know much about the winners, especially if they choose to be anonymous.”
For the sake of transparency legal and financial advisors are rotated on a frequent basis. There are also tight regulations in place to prevent any conflict of interest. At the end of the meetings the advisers are allowed to give their business cards to winners.
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"If the winners want to contact them they can,” said Mr Carter. “You find some go off and use their existing financial advisers but others will use those on the panel. "What is important is that we know winners have access to high quality advice.”
A shock to the system
The panel always takes place a fortnight after the winners have come forward to allow them time to adjust to their new circumstances. Reactions vary both in public and private and some choose to tell the Press of their huge shock.
When they met the Press to announce they were the winners of the £45million fortune, Matt Topham appeared to be stunned into relative silence while his partner Cassey Carrington happily spoke about their future plans and what they did the night they found out they'd won.
Having met with scores of winning couples, Mr Carter revealed that such behaviour is not unusual.
“Winners go through a rollercoaster of emotions and what is interesting is that varies minute by minute,” he said. “Initially people are euphoric but then they can be worried or scared about what it means, people can also feel guilty at times. Even within families people can vary, one person can be very boisterous and the other very silent.”
“It can take days, weeks and months to come through the shock. The best thing people can often do is go off on a holiday somewhere and come to terms with it.”
Go public or stay anonymous?
Arguably, this is the most important decision a winner has to make: Do I go public?
This week's winners revealed that within moments of their win, news had already begun to spread like wildfire.
“I told my dad and within 20 minutes I had my auntie phoning up and she’d told her cousins,” admitted Matt. The couple also spoke of their relief in going public. “To bring it out in our words and tell people who we are, how much we’ve got and what we are going to do with it is just amazing,” said Cassey.
For those intending stay anonymous, keeping the dramatic change of lifestyle secret is a seemingly impossible feat.
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”The rule of thumb is that for most people the bigger the amount, the harder it is to hide,” said Mr Carter. “They may want to give gifts to family or buy a flash car, if they don’t end up telling people they will always be lying about these things- it is often best to be transparent.”
Evidence suggests that the majority of the lucky few tend to agree with this analysis. Only one of the top seven British lottery winners has chosen to remain anonymous and that was for £113million. Many hoaxers said they were the winners and the curiousity of the public about the identity remains undimmed.
It remains to be seen whether the weight of such a vast fortune is too much to bear in silence.