Live: If you win the third-largest ever Mega Millions jackpot, here’s what you need to know

Do you know what to do with a fortune of $810 million?

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The third-largest Mega Millions jackpot, which was won on Tuesday night, is expected to draw the attention of tax collectors, scam artists, and family members, according to financial gurus.

It’s safe to say that with all this attention, the first and most crucial piece of financial advise is going to be what not to do if you possess the winning ticket.


Rob Burnette, a financial and investment advisor at Outlook Financial Center in Troy, Ohio, advised: “Don’t shout your win from the rooftop.” In the event that you win the lottery, you should keep it a secret.” Make a strategy and get your act together. If possible, consider remaining anonymous.

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In what state of luck do I stand a chance of winning the big prize?

The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to $810 million, with a cash option of $470.1 million, after no ticket matched all five numbers and the gold Mega Ball 16 drawn Friday night. As of Tuesday night, no one knew if any of the six digits had been correctly identified.


Only about one in every 303 million people has the probability of matching all six digits. In 45 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mega Millions tickets are available for purchase at $2 each.

For the Friday, January 22, 2021, drawing in Cranberry Township, Pa., customer who declined to provide his identity utilizes a lottery ticket vending machine at a Smoker Friendly business. (Keith Srakocic/AP Photo) PAKS101 is an ORG XMIT.
What’s the point of keeping it a secret?

Mega Millions claims that “some of those scammers have falsely portrayed themselves as being linked with Mega Millions. A common theme among these scams is that they all try to get you to hand over money or personal information by saying you’ve won a significant lottery win.


According to Mega Millions, no one would ever receive a call, text, or email from a Mega Millions official informing them that they had won a prize.

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Recall that no real lottery requires prize winners to put up their own money before they can claim their winnings.

When asked about a $181 million lottery winner who replied, “If I didn’t know you before, I don’t want to know you now,” Steve Azoury, owner of Troy, Michigan-based Azoury Financial, claimed he has advised many lottery winners.

What should you do if you can’t tell everyone you won?
At the outset, Azoury said, “Get a tax attorney and tax accountant, and then a financial advisor.” “They’ll work together to come up with a strategy.”


You will be able to select from one of the following payment options:

One annual payment is followed by 29 annual payments under the annuity option. The amount of each payment increases by 5% each time.
If you choose the cash option, you will receive a one-time payment equivalent to the jackpot prize money.
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Azoury emphasized the importance of having a “fall guy” in the plan. Whoever or whatever is keeping you from lending money to anyone is the person or advisor that tells people that all of your money is locked up in investments and unavailable to you. Your project doesn’t interest us, and we can’t help you.


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What’s the best option for you: a lump sum or monthly installments?


There are many factors that play a role in determining this decision, including as your goals, your age, and the lottery rules for beneficiaries to continue receiving payments.

According to Jackson Hewitt’s chief tax officer, the following should be taken into account:

The amount of money you win from the lottery can help you figure out how much money you owe in taxes and how secure your financial situation will be as a result. A one-time payment may be more convenient if the total is little.
Amounts currently earned and those expected to be earned: Consider how much money you’ll be able to earn and how much tax you’ll have to pay over your lifetime.
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Please tell me about your income.

That’s up to you and your state’s complicated rules, depending on how you chose to take your money.


Mega Millions jackpot winners will almost certainly find themselves in the highest federal tax rate. Depending on where you live and how much money you won, the amount of state taxes you have to pay can vary substantially.

Steber said that if you live in California and buy your ticket there, you’ll pay federal taxes of 37 percent and state taxes of 11 percent.

A California individual traveling to Rhode Island and buying a plane ticket will have to pay federal taxes, but they may not have to pay California state taxes because the ticket was purchased outside of the Golden State.


A tax specialist can be really helpful in this situation. States’ taxes are notoriously complex.

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The $1 million Mega Millions prize won by a man he claims was a’mistake’ has been claimed by the man.


You may wonder, “How long will it take to receive your winnings?”
Azoury predicted that the process of claiming the award would be quick. “It could take a few weeks,” he replied.

Keep in mind that most people will take some time to plan out their strategy before claiming their money. It is important to check with the lottery where the ticket was purchased in order to see if there is a claim period.

Depending on the jurisdiction, claim periods for Mega Millions range from 90 days to a year after the draw date. The state lottery in which the winning ticket was purchased should be contacted by those who have won the prize.


In her work for USA TODAY, Medora Lee covers personal finance, the stock market, and the economy. Subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter for personal money advice and business news every Monday through Friday morning by emailing [email protected]



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