Yay, You Won A Sweepstakes! Now What?

Law Blog

If you thought extreme couponing was intriguing, you'll be knocked off your feet by the number of people addicted to entering contests and sweepstakes. Sweepstakes winners may win anything from shopping sprees and high-end jewelry to cars and vacations. If you're new to extreme entering, then you probably don't know how the process works of claiming a prize. Your hard work doesn't stop once you've won. This is how it works.

Step 1 - The Good News

Of course, after you have entered a sweepstakes, you will receive a notification if you have been selected as the winner. This notification can come anytime from a few weeks to a few months after entering, depending on the length of the contest and the type of prize. Notifications are generally made by phone or to the email address you listed when you signed up. Few notifications are made through snail mail.

Step 2 - 

Once you get the notification, the ball starts rolling. Now, it's time to verify the authenticity of your win and review the information in the notification. If you were notified by email, you can typically respond stating you are the person listed and you accept the winnings. If you were called by phone, expect to receive a packet in the mail in the following weeks. This packet (which will be sent by attachment for email notifications) will outline exactly what you won and the next steps you must follow to claim your prize. 

Step 3 - Documentation

Some sweepstakes sponsors require you to complete and return an affidavit in order to get your winnings. The affidavit is a legal document that you must sign in front of a notary (like those at Integra Law Group) attesting to your identity, confirming that you have not broken any rules in the contest or committed any acts of fraud. If the prize you won amounts to more than $600 US money, then the winner has to supply their social security number for tax purposes. A 1099 will be mailed to the winner in order for you to claim the prize on your taxes.

Step 4 - Exceptions

Typically, if a contest is open to both American and Canadian participants, Canadians will be subjected to a skills-based question only before he/she can claim a prize. However, many American companies may not be aware of Canadian promotional regulations and subject the winner to pay taxes if the prize is worth more than $600. However, in most cases you should be able to consult with a tax lawyer to have these taxes dropped since you are not an American citizen.

Step 5 - Wait and Enjoy

After you have returned the affidavit with an official notary seal, your prize will be sent to your mailing address within a matter of weeks. Sometimes, depending on the value and size of prizes, it may take longer before you receive it. Enjoy!


13 May 2015

File Chapter 7, and Keep Your Home

Many people assume that when they file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they will have to give up their homes and other property. This is not necessarily the case. I am a bankruptcy attorney, and I have helped many clients file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy without giving up homes, cars, and other property. When you file for bankruptcy, the property you are allowed to keep depends on your individual circumstances and the state where you live. Most states allow exemption for property you are currently paying for. This blog will guide you through that information and help you determine if filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right choice for you.