Breaking News
More () »

Why we may never know who won the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot

The winning ticket was sold in Maine, but financial planners say the winner would be smart to remain anonymous. Here's why.

MAINE, Maine — H.M. Payson is a financial planning firm in Portland that manages close to six billion dollars for its clients.

NEWS CENTER Maine's Hannah Yechivi sat down with financial experts at the firm for tips on what to do if you win millions and millions of dollars overnight, like one lucky person did from a Mega Millions ticket purchased in Maine.

The winning ticket was purchased for the Jan. 13 drawing at the Hometown Gas & Grill in Lebanon, Maine, a town of fewer than 6,500 people. The store received a $50,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.

"If I were the winner, the first thing I would do is establish a team of professionals," Jay Flower, H.M. Payson's portfolio manager, said.

Flower explained the importance of hiring good accountants, financial advisors, and legal experts to guide you through the process of how to best use all that money.

"They would work with their estate planning attorney. Maybe, if they want to give money to any family members, consider creating trusts. Trusts will help protect those assets from people's predators, which could include their spouses in the event of divorce," Michelle Santiago, the firm's chief trust administrative officer, said. "Trusts will also help ensure assets [and] maybe pass [the assets] on to future generations if that's the person's goal."

"To the extent you can, have a corporate trustee serve as that intermediary between you and all of the people asking for help. The trustee can kind of act as the bad guy," Flower explained. "I think the biggest problem people do is they let people know. The most important thing is to remain anonymous, otherwise you are going to have distant cousins, friends from kindergarten coming out of the woodwork asking for handouts."

Santiago said you can also be an easy target for fraud if you don't remain anonymous.

"Another thing someone can consider is: Do they want to gift to charity?" Santiago said.

Flower said people should resist the temptation to splurge after paying debts and instead establish a number of trusts to hold all that money.

"But it's really trying to find that mix that you are going to be comfortable with and allow you to sleep at night. But know that this money can grow over time at a rate that outpaces inflation, which is the whole point of investing and not leaving it in a bank account," Flower explained. "The goal, I think, would be to make sure that this pool of assets grows overtime and is there for multi generational wealth."

In summary, here are the firm's top tips:

  • Make a copy of your ticket.
  • Hire a team of professionals.
  • Remain anonymous.
  • Learn to say, "No."
  • Be a good steward of your good fortune.

The Maine State Lottery said the winner plans to remain anonymous and a limited liability company called LaKoma Island Investments has collected the money.

Before You Leave, Check This Out