What to do if you ever have a winning lotto ticket

Published: Oct. 19, 2018 at 10:19 PM CDT
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The 10-digit sum in this week's Mega Millions jackpot had many heads in the sky.

"We'd skip the country," Leah Quinn said. "Perpetual vacation."

But IF you're actually lucky enough to have that winning ticket--or any winning lotto ticket in the future--what do you do next?

I'd go grab my wine box and have a drink," Chris Kluver said.

While your first reaction would undoubtedly be some kind of celebration,

"I think I would start out with trying to find an attorney," John Barker said.

Elgethun Capital Management owner John Barker said your next step should be to call the experts.

“Find an estate attorney or a good CPA and then they can refer you into financial institutions and places like that,” he said.

While you may have been daydreaming about what to do with the money for years, he says it’s important to have a plan.

“Creating that vision or mission statement for what you want to do with the wealth,” Barker said. “If you have a bad system going in, and you don't change it, you can lose that kind of money.”

Barker said roughly a third of lottery winners end up filing for bankruptcy.

“I think if you're broke today, and you put a $100 million into a broken system, you'll be broke again,” he said.

While he would suggest taking the lump sum of in any lotto situation, he also said, if you know you're bad at blowing through money, stick with the annuity plan.

“You can have a spending problem with a hundred million dollars believe it or not,” he said. “Money can solve a lot of problems, but it can also create a lot of problems.”

Barker says one of those problems can be your friends and family; it’s why he suggests keeping quiet if you do end up with that lucky ticket. He says an attorney could help try to funnel the money through a trust or LLC and help you maintain some privacy.