What should you do if you win the massive Mega Millions drawing

Lottery player fills out Mega Millions ticket
AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Mega Millions is expected to have its third-largest jackpot ever on July 26, reaching at least $790 million.

While your odds of winning might be one in over 300 million, the prospect of winning such a large jackpot might have you wondering what should you do if you win the jackpot.

According to State Farm, the first thing you should do is to secure your ticket and keep it protected. Then, hire an attorney and financial adviser, the company said.

“You’re going to need a lawyer, accountant and financial adviser who have experience with large financial windfalls — finding them should be one of your first steps before you claim your money,” State Farm said.

According to Mega Millions, the amount of time a person has to claim a prize varies based on the state. States give anywhere from 90 days to one year to claim lottery winnings.

When you turn in the ticket, you can opt for a lump sum or receive a 29-year annuity. According to Mega Millions, the annuity grows 5% each year.

If you take the lump sum, the amount will be somewhat lower than the advertised jackpot. For instance, April’s $20 million jackpot win paid out $11.9 million in cash.

While it might be tempting to opt for an annuity given the higher overall payout, investing a lump sum might provide a better return. According to Nerd Wallet, the average return of the stock market is 10%. Given compound interest, it would only take investing a portion of the winnings to become a billionaire within 30 years.

Numbers will be drawn for the July 26 drawing at 11 p.m. ET. If no one hits all six numbers on July 26, the July 29 jackpot will be even larger.

By Justin Boggs, Scripps National

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