If the $421 million Mega Millions drawing Friday night has a winner, the lucky person will likely discover that buying the ticket was the easy part.
With the prize marking the fifth-largest jackpot in the game’s history, whoever ends up snagging that windfall — if anyone does — will discover that handling that sudden wealth can be overwhelming. It’s not as simple as getting a check and going on with your life.
First up, say experts, is trying to protect your identity. Some states make it easy to remain anonymous when claiming the prize, while others require a bit more planning. And in some states, it’s impossible.
When you buy a lottery ticket, you should be aware of that state’s laws. Even if you live in a different state, where you bought the ticket determines your options for remaining anonymous.
“Although the odds of winning a large jackpot are astronomically low, it’s still worth a few minutes to do some Google research in advance,” said Jason Kurland, an attorney with Certilman Balin Adler Hyman, a law firm in East Meadow, New York.
Here are some other tips for winners of big jackpots.
Keep the ticket close
The general advice is to sign the winning ticket and make several copies. The idea is that if you somehow are separated from the ticket, your signature