GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- If the winner of the $579.9 million Powerball Lottery jackpot is in Michigan, the law says they "must" come forward and identify themselves to claim the prize, even if they would rather remain anonymous.
"The winner has to present themselves to collect the prize," confirms Grand Rapids attorney and financial planner Steve Cook.
A big lottery winner might prefer anonymity to avoid what some have called "vultures" trying to take their money.
"I would want it to be a secret," says Powerball player Beth Piersma. "Keep it to myself."
"Someone who wins a large sum of money, I'm sure, becomes the object of lots of scam artists," says Cook.
The Michigan Lottery wants to identify winners so the public has confidence in the game, and for publicity.
But attorney Cook says there is a way to keep a jackpot prize confidential.
"Establish a trust," he says. "Appoint a trustee and the trustee would present themselves to the Lottery Commission to collect the winnings. Banks often act as trustees for trusts."
"I wouldn't keep it a secret," says Adaryl Howled while buying a lottery ticket at Richard's Takeout in Grand Rapids. "I'd want everyone to know. It's a good thing."
Winners of in-state lottery jackpots do have the right to remain anonymous when they collect their prize.
The Michigan Senate passed a bill permitting winners of multi-state lotteries to also conceal their identities, but that proposal has not passed the State House.