Mega Hundreds of thousands’ jackpot is $421 million. What to do in case you win

MARK RALSTON | AFP | Getty Images

Sure, the chance of your ticket hitting the Mega Millions jackpot is tiny — roughly one in 302 million.

Nevertheless, it’s worth considering what you’d do if you manage to beat the odds. For Friday night’s drawing, matching all six numbers pulled would mean landing $421 million.

The amount has been rolling higher since late October, when $108 million was won. That marked the last of six jackpots awarded in 2021, which ranged from $55 million to $1.05 billion.

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If you end up joining the short list of top prize winners, there are some things to consider before doing much of anything.

For starters, lottery tickets are considered “bearer instruments,” which means whoever holds it is considered the owner. This means you need to earnestly protect it.

Take a picture of yourself with the winning ticket, said certified financial planner Joe Buhrmann, senior financial planning consultant at eMoney Advisor. Also put the ticket somewhere secure — such as in a safety deposit box — until it’s time to claim your windfall.

Additionally, you may want to sign the back of the ticket. Just be aware that in some states, doing so could interfere with your ability to claim the prize via a trust or other legal entity that would shield your identity from the public.

It’s also worth sharing the exciting news with as few people as possible. If you won’t be able to remain anonymous — it depends on state laws — you need to consider how to avoid becoming a target for scammers as well as long-lost family and friends.

“You may have been friendless and unknown to passers-by on the streets,” Buhrmann said. “That will all change when you’re announced as the winner.”

You also should turn to experienced professionals to help guide you through the claiming process and the many facets of protecting your windfall. Your team should include an attorney, financial advisor, tax advisor and insurance professional.

This group can help you determine whether to take your winnings as a lump sum or as 30 payments spread over 29 years. Most lottery winners choose the immediate, reduced cash amount. For Mega Millions’ $421 million jackpot, the cash option is $290.9 million.

Either way, the money would face a 24% federal tax withholding before it reaches you. For this jackpot, taking the cash would mean about $69.8 million getting shaved off the top, leaving you with a cool $221.1 million. Depending on where you won the jackpot, there may also be state taxes withheld.

Consider how this newfound wealth will change your marriage, family and dynamics with friends and neighbors.

Joe Buhrman

Senior financial planning consultant at eMoney Advisor

Additional federal income taxes would likely also be due at tax time, given the top rate of 37%. There also may be more due in state taxes, depending on the jurisdiction’s rate of withholding.

It’s also worth giving some thought to how your life is going to change — not just from a financial aspect.

“Consider how this newfound wealth will change your marriage, family and dynamics with friends and neighbors,” Buhrmann said.

You may even want to seek guidance from a financial therapist or mental health professional to help you deal with the stress that comes with winning, he said.

Meanwhile, Powerball’s jackpot is $104 million for Saturday night’s drawing. The cash option is $72.5 million. As with Mega Millions, the chance of a single ticket winning the top prize is tiny: one in 292 million.

Mega Thousands and thousands jackpot is $430 million. Keep away from these blunders in case you win

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If you’re lucky – as in really, really lucky – the $ 2 million ticket you own could be worth $ 430 million by Saturday.

This is the face value of the jackpot that goes into the Friday night drawing. Whether you want the prize as a three-decade annuity or a reduced flat fee of $ 291.1 million, it wouldn’t be as easy to exchange your ticket for the loot and get on with life as before.

“That amount is absolutely life changing,” said Walt Blenner, attorney and founder of the Blenner Law Group in Palm Harbor, Florida. “Everything in your life will change and there is no going back.”

If someone wins Friday night, the jackpot marks the eleventh largest in the history of the game. Two Mega Millions jackpots were won earlier this year: a $ 1.05 billion win on January 22nd that went to a group of players in Michigan and a $ 96 million prize that went to a New York couple won on February 16.

Here are some mistakes to avoid in order to make a smooth transition to extreme wealth.


Blenner recommends sharing the news only with your core family.

“Tell as few people as possible,” he said. “If it gets known, it spreads quickly.”

The ultimate goal should be to protect your identity as much as possible. Some states allow you to claim your award anonymously, while others may allow you to set up a trust or body to claim the money, which will keep your name out of the public eye.

Failure to do so could result in a hurricane of public attention that is not guaranteed to all pass or be innocent.

When representing the winner of a $ 451 million Mega Millions jackpot in 2018, Blenner had to emphasize the importance of disappearing before the public found out who won (in Florida, lottery winners cannot remain anonymous).

They hesitated, so he informed them that ransom and kidnapping insurance was available. That got through to them and they rented a house 20 miles away under a pseudonym.

Hurry to win the prize

I try to do it alone

Before making a claim, you’ll want to assemble a team of seasoned professionals, including a lawyer, accountant, and financial advisor, Blenner said.

“You absolutely need a team around you,” he said.

For example, there may be ways to minimize your tax burden. While 24% of large lottery winnings are withheld for federal taxes, the highest marginal rate of 37% means you would owe a lot more.

For this Mega Millions jackpot, withholding the $ 291.1 million flat option would result in nearly $ 69.9 million being shaved off the top. There are also typically state taxes that may be withheld or due at tax time.

Someone on the team should also serve as the gatekeeper. That means they can answer queries from moochers or scammers, or from anyone else fishing for a piece of your luck.

It’s worth noting that most people never have to worry about these things. The chance that a single ticket will hit all six numbers drawn in Mega Millions is 1 in 302 million. For Powerball – whose jackpot for the Saturday night draw is $ 183 million – your chance of winning the grand prize is a little better: 1 in 292 million.

The $1 billion Mega Tens of millions jackpot has a winner

MARK RALSTON | AFP | Getty Images

Someone in Michigan starts their weekend a lot richer.

A single ticket sold in Wolverine State hit all six numbers drawn on Friday night to win the $ 1 billion Mega Millions jackpot. The prize had risen through twice weekly drawings for 37 weeks with no winners. It has now been reset to $ 20 million.

When you have this precious piece of paper in hand, you should be aware that your life is about to change dramatically, experts say. And while you may be eager to claim your winnings, there is no need to rush to headquarters right away.

In other words, take a deep breath.

Protect your ticket and yourself

Put together a team of professionals

Before you go to the lottery headquarters, you should assemble a team of seasoned professionals: a lawyer, an accountant, and a financial advisor.

“You want to be thoughtful [experts] Walk you through the emotional side of winning, but also the commitment that comes with that kind of wealth, “said CPA Mark Alaimo, a member of the American Institute of CPAs’ Personal Financial Specialist Committee.

Someone on the team should also serve as the gatekeeper. That said, they can answer queries from moochers or scammers, or even friends and family members who want a piece of your godsend in the end.

The tax bill

You can choose to take your winnings either as a lump sum or as a 30 year pension. For the $ 1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, the cash option – which most winners choose – is $ 739.6 million.

However, before it reaches you, 24% – $ 177.5 million – is withheld for federal taxes. With the highest marginal tax rate of 37%, you can expect more to be due at tax time. Michigan state taxes of 4.5% would also be due or withheld.

Think philanthropically

One way to lower your tax burden is to think in a nonprofit way.

You can donate up to 60% of your Adjusted Gross Income in cash to a nonprofit or a donor-recommended fund and receive a tax deduction for the amount in the year you donate.

They can also set up a private foundation, donate their income, and then choose how to use it over time.

“A private foundation can run programs,” said Alaimo. “You could open and run a soup kitchen owned by the foundation.

“With a fund recommended by donors, you can only donate [an existing] Soup kitchen.”

Mega Tens of millions jackpot soars to $850 million. The right way to deal with a windfall

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Once again the Mega Millions jackpot has catapulted higher.

The grand prize now stands at a staggering $ 850 million – the third largest in lottery history – after no ticket matched all of the numbers drawn on Friday night. Then there is Powerball: the jackpot is estimated at $ 640 million for the Saturday night drawing.

Of course, the odds of winning either game aren’t in your favor: the chance that a single ticket will match all six numbers is 1 in 302 million for Mega Millions and 1 in 292 million for Powerball.

Even so, it is still worth thinking about how you would deal with such a stroke of luck if you passed the odds.

Jackpot winners are typically given six months to a year to claim their prize, depending on which state it was purchased in. This generally means there is no need to rush to the lottery headquarters.

In other words, the winners should take a deep breath.

Big money means big emotions

Whoever cracks one of the jackpots at the end should be prepared for a roller coaster ride of emotions.

Experts say the extent of their windfall can level off once the initial excitement of winning the jackpot subsides.

“Anyone experiencing newly created wealth … there is a sense of confusion and a sense of being overwhelmed,” said Valerie Galinskaya, executive director and director of the Merrill Center for Family Wealth.

Of course, you don’t have to do it alone.

Given the size of these jackpots, winners should assemble a team of seasoned professionals – including a lawyer, CPA, and financial advisor – to help them tackle the windfall.

“You want to hire the right consultants who can provide not only good advice but also advice tailored to your needs and desires,” said Galinskaya.

Protect your ticket and your identity

You should make a copy of your ticket, keep it in a safe place, i.e. in a safe deposit box or deposit with a bank, and defy the urge to share your messages with everyone in your life.

“Don’t immediately discuss it with anyone other than your immediate and trusted family,” said certified financial planner Jim Shagawat, a New Jersey-based partner advisor at AdvicePeriod of Los Angeles.

Also, if possible, you should protect your identity when you claim the jackpot. While the standard recommendation is to sign the back of the ticket, if, under state law, you set up a trust or limited liability company to claim the windfall, rather than doing it on your own behalf, it can compromise anonymity .

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If your state laws require your name to be publicly known, then it pays to prepare how to respond when others bring up your roundtable, Galinskaya said.

“They say, ‘I’m really grateful and we’re still working on what it means to us,'” she said.

Prepare for the tax bill

For the $ 850 million Mega Millions jackpot, the cash option that most winners choose instead of an annuity is $ 628.2 million.

However, before that gets to you, 24% – or $ 150.8 million – will be withheld for federal taxes. You can also rest assured that you owe much more to Uncle Sam, as the maximum marginal rate of 37% applies to income over $ 523,600 for individual taxpayers and $ 628,300 for married couples filing together. As a rule, state taxes are also due.

Powerball’s $ 640 million jackpot has a flat-rate option of $ 478.7 million. The 24% withholding tax would be approximately $ 114.9 million. And again more would be due.

Think philanthropically

One way to lower your tax burden is to think in a nonprofit way. Basically, the government gives you a tax break if you use private money for public purposes.

“It’s not just about what you want to do for yourself and your family, it’s also philanthropic,” Galinskaya said.

You can donate up to 60% of your Adjusted Gross Income in cash to a nonprofit or a donor-recommended fund and receive a tax deduction for the amount in the year you donate. They can also set up a private foundation, donate their income, and then choose how to use it over time.