A single ticket won the Mega Millions lottery Friday night, an astounding $1.3 billion dollars. It was the second largest windfall in history, with many hopefuls buying tickets in bulk to see if they’d win. DJ Khaled happened to be one of them.
The lucky winner bought a ticket at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, which is about 20-miles northwest of Chicago, according to the Illinois Lottery .
“We have not heard from the winner yet. We don’t know whether ... they even know that they won a prize. So I encourage everybody to check your ticket,” Harold Mays, director of the Illinois Department of the Lottery, said during a news conference in Chicago this weekend.
The jackpot surged to $1.337 billion, a huge jump from an earlier estimate of $1.28 billion, lottery officials said.
We don’t know who the winner is, but at The Root we want to ensure the winner is a smart one. So listen up you lucky mofo because we got some schooling for you. Here are 3 things to keep in mind if you happen to be the billionaire everyone is looking for :
1) Sign The Damn Ticket And Try Your Best To Stay Anonymous
This seems like common sense, but in all of the excitement it’s easy to forget that you need to sign the winning lottery ticket in order to claim the winnings. Keep in mind that the ticket is a bearer instrument, meaning that if you lose said ticket there is no record that you won. Find a trust and estates attorney to determine how to accept your lottery prize. In certain states, you have the option to remain anonymous while others mandate you publicly declare your winnings. Claiming your prize through a trust is a good option to protect who you are.
2) Figure Out How You Want The Cash
With the Mega Millions toppling at over $1 billion, you have the option to select how you get your money. You can either receive one lump sum payment or yearly lottery payments. The lump-sum cash option for Mega Millions is $602.5 million (after taxes). You could also choose 30 payments over 29 years (you’d be responsible for paying taxes annually with each payment). Each one has their own advantages, but being paid annually may help you stay better organized with your money.
3) Have A Strong Legal Team Behind You
This goes back to having an esteemed attorney who knows trusts and estates extremely well to help protect your newfound wealth. The lawyer you choose can help you claim your money and organize your assets. A credited financial advisor can help with investments, charitable donations and financial goals which includes everything from paying off debt to buying a home. In addition, make sure you are the one in charge of writing checks—never leave that to an advisor.