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The estimated Mega Millions jackpot was $790 million – the third largest jackpot in the 20-year history of the Lottery Board.
Jackpot win This amount is likely to exceed In the following drawing on the evening of Tuesday, July 26th.
As players pick their numbers in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C. and the US Virgin Islands – and dream about winning chances – few actually know how they will protect themselves if they actually win.
Financial experts have the resources available to Lottery hopefuls.
Here’s what lottery boards, insurance companies and private wealth management companies advise lottery winners to keep their personal lives and money safe and secure.
Watch out for scams
Lottery players need to look for scams whether they win or not.
Some scammers falsely identify themselves as lottery employees to steal money from unsuspecting people, Mega Millions Warn.
“No Mega Millions representative will call, text, or email anyone about winning a prize,” says the Multidisciplinary Lottery Board’s website.
Lottery scammers are “ongoing,” using real or made-up company names, and offering a “free game” or “prize” to try and appear legitimate, Mega Millions warns.
Fraudsters can also request personal information or payments they claim are in exchange for “taxes” or “fees”.
Helpful tips from Mega Millions include doubting winning any lottery from a game that has never been played, as well as suspicious of emails that come with “spelling errors or bad grammar”.
The Lottery Board also warns that people should be suspicious if someone asks to keep correspondence confidential or request banking information.
“There is no real lottery that tells winners to put their own money in order to get a prize they’ve already won,” Mega Millions notes.
Get professional advice
Lottery winners must put together a team of financial experts if they win a big prize, Mega Millions says.
The Lottery Board recommends winners to search the resources, financial planning tools and Personal Specialists from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a national professional organization that has more than 428,000 certified public accountants affiliated with it.
Lawyers and financial advisors can also be worthwhile, according to State Farm Insurance.
Ask for help if gambling is a problem
If a lottery winner or someone close to a lottery winner has a gambling addiction, Mega Millions says getting help from the Gambling Addiction Association may be an essential step.
Two organizations recommended by the Lottery Board are the National Council on Problem Gambling and Gamblers Anonymous.
The National Problem Gambling Council has affiliate sites in 34 states, while Gamblers Anonymous has hotlines in every state along with in-person and virtual meetings.
Lottery winners must make “several copies” of their winning tickets, according to State Farm.
These copies can be shown to attorneys or accountants while the original ticket remains in a personal safe or bank deposit box.
State Farm also warns that lottery winners must read the rules and contract of each game before signing the winning ticket.
“In some cases, signing your ticket may prevent you from creating a blind trust later,” notes the insurance company’s article “What to do if you win the lottery.”
Protect your privacy
State Farm says lottery winners should keep their win private before handing over the ticket.
Winners must also be willing to change their contact information. This is because many lotteries share names or require interviews or participation in a press conference for reasons of transparency.
“Be sure to change your phone number and set up a new mailbox beforehand to avoid being inundated with requests,” State Farm writes.
The insurance company notes that some winners may be able to form a blind trust through their attorney, so that winnings can be received anonymously.
Make a plan for the money
While putting together a team of financial experts is an important step for most lottery winners, State Farm says winners should make a public list or plan what they’d like to do with their money.
“Write down your personal, financial, lifestyle, family, and charitable goals, and come back to that plan later to help keep things on track in the long run,” says the insurance company.
Putting off making big decisions right away
Winning a few million dollars would tempt anyone to make a big purchase or Lifestyle change But private wealth managers at Cresset Capital are advising against doing so.
“You have to think about how your work contributes to your sense of self and your mental well-being,” says Cresset Capital in her article What to Do (and Don’t) If You Win the Lottery.
“Take your time to think about how and when you want to give so that you don’t become resentful or end up using your wealth.”
Rather than opting to retire early or make another dramatic move, the Chicago-based financial planning firm says lottery winners may want to consider getting involved.–Time jobs, higher education engagement, volunteer work, or passion-filled hobbies.
Cresset Capital also warns lottery winners to “become an ATM for family and friends“In order to avoid jeopardizing financial plans ahead of time.
“This doesn’t mean you should keep all the money for yourself, but take time to think about how and when you want to donate so you don’t become upset or end up using your wealth,” the company wrote.
Wondering if you should take a lump sum
Some winners are fine with taking a lump sum from the lottery, while others can benefit from an annuity payment (a series of equal payments divided over a period of time).
Cresset Capital advises winners to seek input from a financial advisor to determine the best option for them.
“Compare after-tax returns, investment returns, life expectancy, etc.,” Cresset Capital writes.
“Careful planning and thoughtfulness can lead to a higher overall win value.”
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