The Mega Millions jackpot climbed to an astounding $ 1 billion on Friday, the second-largest lottery prize in United States history, just hours before the drawing. The Powerball jackpot on Saturday is not too shabby either: $ 470 million.
Just imagine if you won both. Nearly $ 1.5 billion! Congratulations;
So: You are now the 1,650th-richest person in America! You knocked out Herb Chambers, a self-made billionaire who turned a $ 500 loan from his mother into an empire of car dealerships in Massachusetts, down one spot on the Forbes World Billionaires list. $ 1
After the winning numbers are drawn in Mega Millions and Powerball, you'll be holding the tickets and wondering what to do. Will you take the lump sum? How about 30 years of annual payments?
• Announce that you won
• Buy expensive things, or anything at all, unless you can already afford it
• Quit your job
• Sign the winning ticket
Dennis J. Siciliano has given that critical advice to jackpot winners who have hired him to help them collect their prizes. Mr. Siciliano, an estate and business lawyer in Independence, Ohio, helped win the title of winner of a $ 52 million Mega Millions jackpot in August 2004,
"The bottom line is that the first thing they should do is secure the ticket," Mr. Siciliano said. "Do not tell anyone except close people."
Mr. Siciliano, who has also helped win much of their money. Slow down and be methodical.
"Proper planning upfront is really beneficial," he said.
In addition to hiring a lawyer, you should find a wealth adviser and an accountant, Mr. Siciliano said. A wealth adviser wants to help you avoid spending all your money too fast, a problem for some winners, and help you invest it so it lasts for years.
Before the drawing, as your mind about how you would spend the jackpot – maybe buy a boat, pay off student loans or move to the mountains – you might want to share some with family members and friends. But it's not that easy.
Distributing some of your winnings to other people may be subject to numerous taxes, including the federal tax and the estate tax Mr. Siciliano said.
"When is it truly a joint purchase or when is it a winner who is gifting to others?" he said. "Could the I.R.S. investigate? Sure. "
Those three advisers should help.
Another potential problem: If you signed your name on the back of the ticket, you may as well buy the winning ticket in one state and then decide to move. it could be difficult to remain anonymous. A New Hampshire woman who recently won $ 560 million.
Over the years, many winners have avoided the limelight by accepting their prizes under the name of a trust. Mr. Siciliano created the ABC Blind Trust to collect the $ 52 million prize, which received the winner in a lump sum of $ 21.8 million after taxes. A group of Manhattan co-workers claimed a $ 58 million jackpot in 2015 under the name Lucky 16 Trust. In 2016, $ 49 million was claimed in Texas by the Buy It a Boat Revocable Trust.
But in all likelihood, you will not have any weighty issues to consider. Because you will not win and be back at work on Monday morning.