What to Do If You Win Today's $636M Mega Millions
Hint: It does not involve Disney World
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Dec 17, 2013 10:45 AM CST
Updated Dec 17, 2013 10:52 AM CST
Mega Millions forms await customers at a convenience store in Lawrence, Kan., Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013.   (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

(Newser) – Tonight's Mega Millions prize could end up being the biggest US jackpot ever. It's already hit $636 million; by tonight, it could rise past the $656 million record, Reuters notes. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that you win it (you won't). When you can breathe again, you'll want to take quick action to ensure that you deal with your newfound millions safely and effectively. At CNN, Steve Almasy offers a checklist:

  • First, sign the ticket. You don't want to risk losing it, or having a "friend" claim it. While you're at it, you might want to take a selfie with the ticket, then drop it in a safe deposit box.
  • Then, seek out financial experts, but not too many—you want to keep the news quiet as long as possible. "Start with one experienced attorney and look for a seasoned certified financial planner," Almasy writes.
  • Big question: Is there any way you can legally remain anonymous? If you live in South Carolina or a handful of other states, the answer is yes, but generally you'll have a tough time hiding. You might want to hire a PR person. In fact, you might want to slip out of the country until the hubbub over the prize has died down.
  • Didn't win? Don't forget to check if you've qualified for runner-up cash. Last year saw $800 million in unclaimed lottery winnings.
Click for Almasy's full piece.