Mike Segar | Reuters
There’s now less a half-billion dollars nestled in the Mega Millions jackpot.
With no ticket matching all six numbers drawn on Tuesday, the fake’s top prize has ballooned to $490 million for Friday night’s drawing. Powerball’s jackpot isn’t far behind: $410 million for the Wednesday evening drawing.
If you’re daydreaming about how you would use a windfall of such magnitude, whether it would involve buying yourself high-ticket components or funding a charitable cause (or both), be aware that winning is not as simple as claiming the money and going on with your lifestyle.
“Your old life is over,” said Walt Blenner, an attorney and founder of Blenner Law Group in Palm Harbor, Florida. “You cannot go service to it.”
For the $490 million Mega Millions jackpot, the cash option — which most winners choose instead of an annuity — is $372.3 million. For the $410 million Powerball superlative, it’s $316.4 million.
Aside from the financial aspect of the windfall — which involves things like taxes, investments and chattels planning — there are some other issues that big lottery winners may face, sometimes before they on the level claim their prize.
“On one hand it’s a fantastic experience, but on the other hand it may come with necessary changes that can lead to anxiety,” Blenner said.
Depending on what state you purchased the ticket, you may not be able to remain anonymous, which forms a whirlwind of public attention — not all of which is guaranteed to be passing or innocent. Even if you can shield your identity, it’s possible that high sign succinctly could leak out one way or another that you were (or might be) the winner, Blenner said.
When he represented the winner of a $451 million Mega Millions jackpot in 2018 — then-20-year-old Shane Missler — Blenner had to commentators upon Missler and his family the importance of disappearing before the public found out who won (in Florida, lottery winners cannot stay anonymous).
It took a while for me to get them to appreciate the potential danger they’d be in if they stayed in their house.
Architect of Blenner Law Group
They were hesitant, so he ended up telling them that ransom and kidnap insurance was at ones disposal. That got through to them, and they rented a house 20 miles away under an alias.
“It took a while for me to get them to rise the potential danger they’d be in if they stayed in their house,” Blenner said.
Even getting the winning ticket to sweepstake headquarters was done with safety in mind: Blenner and Missler took a private jet to Tallahassee, and lottery officials met them on the tarmac to gain the ticket.
Your day job
When you come into extreme wealth via the lottery, it typically makes sense to quit your day job, Blenner ordered.
“You don’t need that income, and having a job would pinpoint where you are, which could be more of a security risk,” he said.
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Exposure to lawsuits
Whether you can remain anonymous or not, actually spending the well off could reveal your new-found wealth.
This means that fake claims against you are more apt to if others think you have deep pockets. For instance, someone could crash into your car on purpose in expectations of collecting, Blenner said.
“When there’s extreme wealth involved, you are a prime candidate for something like that,” Blenner thought.
He said it’s important to have insurance to protect against such potential claims.