So, when you win the Mega Millions jackpot tonight and find yourself several hundred million dollars richer, what are you going to do?
Here's a step-by-step guide on the RIGHT way to deal with winning the lottery.
1. Sign the back of the ticket. That's the first thing you do. That way it's yours, guaranteed. Then make a photocopy, take a photo of yourself with it, and lock it in a safe.
2. Your first call should be to a lawyer. Yes, before you tell your relatives, you need to get a lawyer involved. Hundreds of millions of dollars complicates EVERYTHING. You want to be airtight legally from day one.
3. Think realistically about how much you won. After you take the lump sum and pay the taxes, you'll wind up with about half the jackpot. And if anyone else also had the winning numbers, you're splitting it with them too.
4. Try to shield your identity. Some states will make you pick up the jackpot in person. Others will let you form a trust. If you can, have your lawyer form a trust and stay anonymous. It will save you an incomprehensible amount of headaches.
5. Plan one good splurge. Now that you've taken care of all the boring logistics, think about one or two amazing things you're going to buy. It'll also get it out of your system. But wait until you have the money in the bank before you buy.
6. Get the money locked into investments. Suddenly, every family member and friend will expect money from you. The more you lock into investments, the less guilty you have to feel about saying "No" 200 times a day.
Now, if you ask for my opinion, grab the money and RUN! And don't look backS