By SCOTT McFETRIDGE | The Associated Press
DES MOINES, Iowa — Despite the terrible odds — one in 302.5 million for those keeping score at home — someone will eventually match all six numbers and win the Mega Millions jackpot, which now stands at $970 million. It could happen as soon as Friday night, when the next drawing is held.
That would leave most of us disappointed but some lucky winner beset by a host of questions. Here are some answers for someone holding that prized lottery ticket for what would be the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
I’VE WON. NOW WHAT?
Lottery officials recommend winners take a deep breath, put their winning ticket in a safe spot and consult with a reputable financial planner before popping over to the lottery headquarters. Their first decision is whether to take the cash option, which would now be $548 million, or an annuity, with one initial payment and annual installments over 29 years. Nearly all winners opt for cash, but the annuity has advantages, as it reduces the tax bill a little and offers a stable flow of income that climbs by 5 percent annually.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO CLAIM THE JACKPOT?
States have different rules, so depending on where you purchased the ticket, you have from 180 days to a year.
DO I GET MY MONEY INSTANTLY?
No, you can’t just cash one of those oversized checks shown in all the winner photos. Payment speed also varies by state, but a week or two is common. Carole Gentry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland lottery, said the requirement is seven to 10 days in that state.
CAN I KEEP MY NAME SECRET?
Winners can remain anonymous in six states — Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and South Carolina. In Arizona, people who win more than $600 can keep
Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World