Most of the time when good things happen to us, by nature, we like to reach out and share that news with those we love. In the case of winning a huge lottery jackpot, such as tonight's Mega Millions drawing, we might not want too many people to know about our good fortune.

When you consider that tonight's Mega Millions drawing will feature a jackpot of at least $970 million, I think it's safe to say a win of that magnitude will bring friends, family members, and total strangers out of the woodwork hoping to "share" in your good fortune. But should you win, do you have to be identified publicly as the winner?

The short answer is this. You could be.

Let me explain. Here's the way the Louisiana Lottery website addresses the question of "If I win, can I remain anonymous"?

If you win more than $600 and are therefore required to claim your prize at a Lottery office, you will be required to complete a claim form for tax purposes. Under the Lottery's statute, all prize payment records are open records, meaning that the public has a right to request the information. Depending upon the amount won and public or media interest in the win, winners may NOT be able to remain anonymous. The statute also allows the Lottery to use winners' names and city of residence for publicity purposes such as news releases. The Lottery's regular practice is not to use winner information in paid advertising or product promotion without the winner's willingness to participate.

In layman's terms no you might not be identified as a winner by the lottery but some sneaky news organization or anyone requesting access to open records can certainly find out who you are.  Since you have to fill out tax documents, those documents are subject to open records laws in the state. While your documents might not say "Lottery Winner" I am certain a form with $970,000,000.00 would be easy to trace back.

Granted we are really putting the cart about 970 million miles ahead of the horse in this scenario it is still something to think about. There are ways you can avoid the spotlight and keep some degree of anonymity should you win. You could form a corporation and then have your legal representative file the documents on behalf of your corporation.

Depending on how you incorporate, the principles in the corporation may or may not have to be identified by name and location. This could at least throw the gold diggers off your trail and provide some degree of privacy.

So, our advice to you when you win tonight's Mega Millions, keep quiet, sign the back of your ticket, and hire a lawyer. Or, you could opt for strangers knocking on your door with tales of woe that only your lottery winnings can fix.

Isn't it a shame that we'd have to think that way?

But such is the way of our world today. We have become a nation with a "handful of want and pocketful of gimme". Good luck in tonight's lottery. If I win you'll be hearing from my attorney.

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