Here’s what to do if you win the $810 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot.
Here’s what you need to know.
Lottery: Mega Millions
The Mega Millions lottery is now $810 million. The next drawing is tonight at 11 pm. What should you do if you are tonight’s winner? Do these 5 things:
1. Sign your lottery ticket
A lottery ticket is considered a bearer instrument, meaning whoever signs the ticket can claim the lottery prize. If you lose your lottery ticket, there is no record that you picked the winning numbers. Don’t become the subject of a tv movie. Make sure that you sign your lottery ticket.
2. Determine if you can remain anonymous
While it’s important to sign your lottery ticket, you should first determine which name to place on the lottery ticket. Consult a trust and estates attorney to determine how to accept your lottery prize. For example, in a minority of U.S. states, including but not limited to Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas and others — you can remain anonymous when you claim a lottery prize. In the remaining states, including Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, winners must publicly disclose their name, city and prize amount. To keep your identity protected, you could claim your lottery prize through a legal entity such as a trust. Check with your local jurisdiction and an attorney to determine the rules regarding trusts, lottery prizes and remaining anonymous. If you choose to use a trust, this can impact the signature on the back of the lottery ticket.
3. Choose between lump sum and annuity payments
If you win the Mega Millions, you will choose how to receive your money. You can receive an upfront, lump-sum cash payment or annual lottery payments. Make sure you understand the difference. The upfront, lump-sum cash option for Mega Millions is $470.1 million (minus mandatory tax withholding). Alternatively, you could choose 30 payments over 29 years (and you’ll be responsible for paying taxes as you receive each annual payment). Which option should you choose? It’s a personal choice. Financially, the lump-sum payment is preferable. Why? According to classic financial wisdom, “A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow.” You can invest the money you receive now and hopefully earn a higher rate of return. However, if you’re concerned about spending your money too quickly, then choosing the annual payment option may be advantageous. That’s not necessarily the best financial choice, but it may help you control spending and stay organized.
4. Hire the right advisors
Winning the lottery is one thing; holding onto your winning is another. Make sure you have the correct legal and financial team to help protect your wealth. Start with a reputable attorney who has experience with trusts and estates. Your attorney can help you claim your prize and structure your assets. You may consider a licensed financial advisor who can help you manage your investments, pursue charitable interests and achieve your financial life goals. When you win the lottery, expect to be contacted by every long-lost cousin and “best friend” from high school. Similarly, you likely will be approached by multiple advisors offering their services. Don’t rush. Find the best partners in your journey. Importantly, make sure you sign your checks so you can keep track of your money. Don’t delegate check-signing authority to an advisor.
5. Pay off debt
If you win the Mega Millions, pay off your debt. Becoming a lottery winner is a prime opportunity to pay off student loans, a mortgage, credit card debt, an auto loan or a personal loan. Yes, you could invest your winnings and earn a higher investment return than your cost of debt. However, make your life simpler so you don’t have to keep track of monthly payments.
Mega Millions Lottery Q&A
How do you play Mega Millions?
Choose five numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. You can also select Easy Pick / Quick Pick and the numbers will be selected automatically for you. You win when you match all six numbers.
Where can I play Mega Millions?
Mega Millions is available in 45 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How much does it cost to play Mega Millions?
Each ticket costs $2. There is no limit to the number of tickets that you can purchase.
What are the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot?
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is approximately 1 in 302 million.