The person who is holding the single winning lottery ticket for the massive Mega Millions jackpot has yet to reveal himself or herself to authorities.
Although there is a one-year deadline from the date of draw to come forward, there is another deadline that is coming up that has significance.
The ticket in the July 29 drawing for the still unclaimed $1.3 billion prize — the second largest in Mega Millions history and America’s third-largest lottery jackpot — was sold at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois, in suburban Chicago.
For a variety for life-changing reasons that are certainly understandable, the would-be billionaire who hit all six numbers might be shy about stepping up right away. The law differs from state to state, but fortunately, Illinois reportedly allows a winner to keep their identity confidential when the amount totals $25,000 or more.
“We don’t know whether or not they even know that they won a prize,” Harold Mays, director of the Illinois department of the lottery, told the Guardian. “So, I encourage everybody to check your ticket.”
Another official, Illinois Lottery spokesperson Emilia Mazur told Newsweek, “For a prize of this magnitude, it’s not unusual for a winner to take a little bit longer to claim the prize as they may want to seek professional legal and financial advice prior to claiming. The Illinois Lottery will support the winner through the prize claim process to ensure a great winning experience and support any requests for anonymity.”
The lucky winner has 60 days to decide whether to take the cash in a lump sum or receive it on an annuity basis (which consists of an initial payment followed by 29 years of annual installments). In this instance, the lump sum equals approximately $780 million.
Taxes obviously are due for either option.
If a winner blows the deadline, the annuity option reportedly becomes the default selection.
“According to officials, after a ticket is won, the Illinois Lottery encourages the winner to sign the back of their ticket, seek legal advice and make an appointment with the Illinois Lottery to claim their prize,” NBC Chicago explained.
As alluded to above, the winner should also assemble a team of competent, sophisticated financial and legal advisors before redeeming the jackpot.
Once the winning ticket is produced at the state office, the gas station which sold the ticket is set to receive a $500,000 bonus payment.
“If the prize remains unclaimed for one year, the money will be returned to each state that participates in Mega Millions,” Fox Business explained.
Each Mega Millions ticket costs $2, so even depending on how many tickets this particular winner purchased, it is likely a mind-boggling, if not surreal, return on investment. It will be also interesting to learn if it was a quick pick or the winner selected specific numbers.
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