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6 things you should do if you win the historic Mega Millions jackpot

Drawing Tuesday night for biggest lottery prize in history

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DETROIT – The entire nation will be watching Tuesday night as the Mega Millions numbers for the biggest lottery prize in history are drawn.

If there's a winner, they'll likely have uncontrollable excitement, but there's some hard financial reality to consider.

This kind of life-altering money is off-the-charts emotional, which means the winner could make costly mistakes by letting emotions get the best of them.

There are six things to do to protect yourself financially if you win the jackpot.

Don't tell anybody

If telling family members is important, make certain they can be sworn to secrecy.

"If they don't, they don't get to go on the cruise," Detroit resident Sherie said.

Copy the winning ticket

Copy your winning ticket and place it in a safe deposit box without telling anyone where it is.

Don't sign the ticket at this point.

Financial advisors

Next, take the copied winning ticket and a newspaper with the winning numbers to financial advisors.

"They didn't help me when I was poor," Eddie Epps said. "How are they going to help me when I'm rich?"

But people with mortal money making the minimums for a financial advisory to manage is tough.

Winning a $913 million check puts you where you max out. With this kind of money, you're likely to need four or five financial advisors to manage the cash haul.

Wait to turn in the ticket

Next, wait to turn in the ticket.

In Michigan, you must disclose your name, so the best day to claim your money is when there's a busy news day and news crews are less likely to cover your announcement.

Keep a low profile

After collecting your winnings, disappear or, at the minimum, keep a very low profile.

You will be besieged by people wanting to get their hands on some of your winnings.

Open a foundation

Opening a foundation will allow you to manage the charitable gifting you want to do.

It could also be a smart decision to have security, especially when you bring your ticket from the safe deposit box to the lottery office and cash it in. That's when you sign the ticket.

When it comes to spending, do what the wealthy have done for generations: Do not touch the principal.

Say you bought $400 million 30-year treasuries. The least risky investment you can find at 3 percent return a year will net you $12 million a year in income.


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