Excitement is building as the Powerball jackpot is bursting at the seams. To think that one lucky person could win a huge chunk of that, if not all of it, and have their life changed completely in a matter of minutes is mind-boggling.

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As New Yorkers dash to stores today to buy their ticket ahead of tonight’s drawing, keep in mind that there are some rules you'll have to follow – you know, when you're the big winner tonight.

Lottery Winners in New York Must Be Publicly Identified

When it comes to Powerball and Mega Millions, winners must adhere to a set of rules and regulations. Firstly, it's important to note that public disclosure laws vary by state. Winners in New York are not allowed to remain anonymous. The New York Lottery publishes the names, the city or town of residence, and the prize amount for all winners. This information is considered public record and may be subject to disclosure under the Freedom Information Law.

Lottery Winners Must Follow State Specific Claiming Procedures

In terms of claiming the prize, winners must follow the procedures outlined by the lottery commission. Each state has its own process for claiming the winnings so if you’re purchasing from a neighboring state, you might want to check the official lottery website or contact the lottery commission to find out the necessary steps and documentation required to claim the prize.

READ MORE: "I'm Yoooolannnnda Vega!" Where Is New York's Lottery Icon Today?

Lottery Winners Must Claim Prize in State Purchased

Keep in mind that winners must claim their prize in the state in which they purchased it and they must have physical possession of the ticket when redeeming their prize. Winners have a limited amount of time to claim their prizes, which is typically one year from the date of the drawing. Failure to claim the prize within the designated timeframe could mean the forfeiture of the winnings.

SEE ALSO: Can You Remain Anonymous If You Win The New York State Lottery?

Lottery Winners Have to Decide How to Be Paid

Winners have to decide how they want to receive their winnings. Typically, winners have the choice between receiving the prize as a lump sum or as an annuity paid out over a designated number of years. It is so important to consider this decision and seek financial advice to understand the long-term implications and potential tax consequences associated with each option.

It is also worth noting that winners who choose the annuity payment option will receive their prize over a period of 30 years. However, winners may opt for a lump sum payment, which is a reduced amount but available immediately.

Lottery Winners Must Pay Taxes

Regarding taxes, both federal and state taxes apply to lottery winnings. In New York, lottery prizes are subject to both federal withholding tax and state income tax. The lottery commission must withhold a percentage of the winnings and report it to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. It is recommended to consult with tax professionals to understand the tax obligations and ensure compliance with the applicable laws.

How To Protect Yourself And Your Money If You Win The Lottery

Whether you've recently won the lottery (or are planning to!), there are some things you should do right away to protect not only yourself but also your money. 

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

Check Out the Frivolous Things People Say They’d Spend Money on if They Won the Lottery

We asked people what frivolous thing they'd spend money on if they won the lottery (after all bills and such are paid, obviously) and their answers didn't disappoint!

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor