The Mega Millions jackpot is $1.1 billion. How to schedule sharing

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If you’ve never been beaten for money by family or friends, that’s likely to change if you were to win the $1.1 billion Mega Millions jackpot.

The grand prize has been climbing through twice-weekly draws since mid-October, with no ticket matching all six numbers drawn to win the grand prize. This is the fourth time the game’s jackpot has surpassed the $1 billion mark and if won at this level, it would be the fifth largest lottery jackpot of all time.

Of course, the advertised $1.1 billion is what you would get if you chose to take your profits as an annuity over three decades. The flat cash option – which most jackpot winners choose instead – is $568.7 million.

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While some of your profits would go towards taxes, the amount you would get after those taxes would be more than most people see in their lives. It can also make you a target for people who want a share of your newfound wealth, experts say.

Of course, not everyone will be after you, said Emily Irwin, managing director of advice and planning at Wells Fargo Wealth & Investment Management. “But… you never know what’s going to happen.”

When “the inevitable asking for money occurs,” she said, “how do you make sure you’re comfortable saying yes or no?”

Here are some tips to avoid trouble.

Share the news with as few people as possible

If you manage to beat the odds stacked against a single ticket to hit the jackpot – the odds of hitting the Motherlode being around 1 in 302.6 million – one of the most important things is the You do need to share the news with as few people as possible.

“It’s hard for even your inner circle to keep quiet,” said certified financial planner Susan Bradley, founder of the Sudden Money Institute in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Being able to keep your identity safe from the public can help minimize who finds out and protect you from random strangers hoping to get a share of your profits. Some states allow you to make claims anonymously, while others may allow you to form a legal entity — such as a trust — to claim the windfall, protecting your name from the public.

Create a plan for how and when to donate

Before you even claim your prize, consider assembling a team of professionals to help you navigate your new fortune. This group should include at least one experienced attorney, financial adviser and accountant.

One thing to think about during this pre-claiming phase, with your team’s guidance, is if and how you want to use some of the profits to benefit others.

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Set limits on money going to family and friends The Mega Millions jackpot is $1.1 billion. How to schedule sharing

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