Let’s say you did win the lottery...what now?

$ Billion payout enticing ticket buyers

Mega Millions Jackpot soars to $1 billion

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Tonight is one of two huge nights when it comes to the lottery. The Mega Millions drawing is Friday night for an estimated $1 billion. The Power Ball drawing is Saturday night, and it’s worth around $470 million.

If you were to win, and that’s a very big IF, what would be the first thing that you did?

One of the first things Salisbury-based CPA Gary Morgan said was that if you did win, it would be better to remain anonymous.

“You’re going to have friends you never knew you had and there could also be some predators out there," Morgan said.

But you probably can’t actually keep it quiet. One of the requirements for many lotteries is to have the ceremony with the big check and to smile for those cameras.

“If you have debt I would pay that off," Morgan added.

Travis Marshall, buying tickets today at Lentz’s store in Rowan County, agreed with paying off debt, but added a little something.

“Pay all my bills off and then buy my wife a Jeep and a new Harley, and I’d get me one," Marshall said.

Morgan added that managing your good fortune is probably something that will take team work.

“Assemble a team of professionals, tax professional, attorney for legal advice, estate planning," Morgan said.

And how can you reduce that tax liability? Giving to charity is a great start.

“You could give gifts to family members," Morgan added. "You could give up to $15,000 without having to do a gift tax return.”

Morgan says to resist the impulse to spend too much. He knows that first hand because of a client who once won $3 million, and then…

“I prepared his taxes and he owed money, well he had already given al the money away. He had given to his sisters, his money, family members, he had bought some stuff with it and when it came to how much he owed on his taxes he didn’t have the money, he was a little upset.”

Morgan also advised winners to think of how they could make the world a better place and do “something good” with their fortune.

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