Whether you just bought your first Mega Millions ticket or have been playing numbers for years, you always grip that slip of paper with the same thought: I could actually win this. Since nothing clouds your judgment quite like becoming a multimillionaire overnight, we asked Huntington Bank trust officer Greg Klutcher, who advised the Ashtabula man who won $170 million last summer, what to do when your numbers are picked." Melissa Adell
1. Calm down. "Take a deep breath and pause," Klutcher says. You wouldn"t want to have a heart attack would you"
2. Don't go public. Don't tell anyone except maybe your spouse and responsible adult children. To further avoid attention, put your winnings in a blind trust. "One of my larger lottery-winning clients did it this way," Klutcher says. "To this day, no one knows who they are."
3. Seek professional help. You've never had this much money, so find a qualified adviser immediately. "You minimize any legal risks and maximize any type of tax savings, because [winning] is a fully taxable event," Klutcher says.
4. (Momentarily) spend like a rock star. "If you want to get a sports car or a motorcycle or go on a trip, take up to 10 percent of your net money and do what you want to do with it," Klutcher says. "Try to get it out of your system." Don't be one of those lottery winners who ends up in debt.
5. Live your dream. Now that your pesky job is out of the way, do what you want. Volunteer, set up a charitable foundation or just relax. "Check and revise your [financial] plan," Klutcher says. "Things change for everyone, even wealthy folks."
in the cle
12:00 AM EST
January 30, 2006