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What to do first if you win the $285 million Mega Millions jackpot

More than a quarter-billion is up for grabs in the subsequent Mega Millions drawing.

After 10 weeks with nobody hitting all six numbers, the jackpot has climbed to $285 million for Friday evening’s drawing. And whereas the odds are stacked towards a jackpot win — your likelihood is 1 in about 302 million — sooner or later somebody will get actually, actually fortunate.

Of course, that success would additionally include a life-changing amount of cash. And specialists advocate that huge lottery winners take steps immediately to shield their windfall.

A buyer holds Mega Millions tickets at a newsstand in midtown Manhattan in New York, U.S., October 19, 2018. 

Mike Segar | Reuters

“The days between the drawing and the day you claim will be your last days of normalcy,” mentioned Jason Kurland, a associate at Rivkin Radler, a legislation agency in Uniondale, New York.

“You want to have a clear head so you can get through a stressful but exciting time,” mentioned Kurland, who makes a speciality of serving to lottery winners.

Here are some suggestions if you win.

1. Keep quiet

Your first urge could be to share your thrilling information with, effectively, the world. However, the fewer individuals who know, the higher.

This is the case even if you’ll have the option to declare your prize anonymously.

“The last thing you need is people asking for handouts, or friends and family offering advice about how to claim the money,” Kurland mentioned.

If you will not have the option to dodge publicity due to your state’s legislation, contemplate altering your telephone quantity or dwelling some place else quickly to keep away from media consideration and sudden cash requests from long-lost buddies or relations.

“I have a lot of clients plan trips the day their win is announced,” Kurland mentioned. “Those first few days are when the press tries to find you, but it usually has died down after a week or so.”

2. Protect your ticket

The commonplace recommendation from specialists is to signal the again of the profitable ticket in order that if you are separated from it, your signature may also help guarantee you nonetheless get the prize.

“You want the ticket signed, because whoever signs it is the winner,” Kurland mentioned.

However, he mentioned, you ought to first be sure that you know the guidelines for claiming your win in the state the place you bought the ticket. If you purchased it in a spot that requires the winner’s identify to be introduced, you would possibly have the option to declare it by way of a belief or different authorized entity, thereby holding your identify out of the public eye.

“Just be sure you sign the back of the ticket correctly, and do it as soon as possible,” Kurland mentioned.

three. Chill

four. Consider the backside line

Jackpot winners get to determine between taking a right away lump sum or spreading out their winnings over three many years. Either manner, the IRS will take 24% earlier than the cash reaches them.

For this $285 million jackpot, the money possibility — which most winners go together with — is $195.7 million. The 24% federal withholding would scale back that by $47 million to $148.7 million. However, as a result of the prime marginal charge is 37%, the winner ought to anticipate owing far more at tax time.

Additionally, state taxes sometimes are withheld or due, relying on the place you dwell and the place the ticket was bought.

“Winners are surprised by how much is withheld in taxes from the initial payment, and then how much more is owed when they file their taxes the following year,” Kurland mentioned.

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About Virgie Powell

Virgie B. Powell writes for Reiterment Planning and Tax Advice sections in AmericaRichest.

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