If you are the big winner in the Mega Millions lottery drawing, you can’t keep your name a secret. As reported on NorthJersey.com, in New Jersey, the names of lottery winners are public information. The New Jersey Lottery reserves the right to release the winner’s name, town, and county to the press. And if you’re planning on setting up a trust or a company to receive the winnings, the Lottery will still release the name of the person who presented the winning ticket.

One of the main reasons they do that is to see if there are claims for part of the winnings, like back child support or outstanding tax bills. One of the other reasons is that is it public money and the public has a right to know who got it. If you think you can just grab the money and go into hiding, well, you can’t do that until after your mandatory appearance at the press conference to announce the winner. There are a few states that allow winners to stay anonymous, but New Jersey is obviously not one of them.

Lottery lawyers advise that the first thing to do if you win is sign the ticket. If you lose it before you sign it, whoever finds it can sign it and claim the money. The second thing to do is call a lawyer who specializes in lottery winners and get your ducks in a row before you claim the prize. Then prepare for your life to totally change with long lost relatives coming out of the woodwork and the possibility of nuisance lawsuits. Good luck!

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