One very lucky person who visited the Huck's convenience store in Murphysboro, Illinois this Wednesday is holding a winning lottery ticket worth up to $5 million.
The winning ticket was purchased at 10:13 a.m. Wednesday at the store located at the corner of Walnut and South 20th streets. The numbers on the ticket are 2, 18, 20, 23, 30 and 39.
The ticket holder had not yet stepped forward Thursday, but a spokeswoman for the Illinois Lottery in Springfield offered a strong piece of advice for the winner.
"If they do not already have an attorney or financial advisor, I strongly advise them to get one," said Anne Plohr Rayhill. "There are a lot of things to think about when you win the lottery: taxes, wills, investments, all that sort of thing."
Rayhill said consulting with an expert is especially important if more than one person holds the winning ticket, such as an unmarried couple or a group of co-workers who pool their money for tickets.
"If it's more than one person claiming the prize, they really do need to get an attorney, because a partnership agreement or group agreement has to be written up," she said.
Only one person matched all six numbers in Wednesday night's drawing. The ticket is worth $5 million if the prize is paid out annually over 26 years, which amounts to about $192,000 a year, or $140,000 a year after taxes. If the winner takes the prize in a lump sum, the prize is $2.55 million.
So which is better: installments or the lump sum?
Rayhill says a lot depends on the age of the winner.
"From my experience it seems like the younger the winner, the more apt they are to get the annuity," Rayhill said, adding that if a lottery winner dies before all of his or her winnings are distributed, the remaining money goes to the estate.
Rayhill said the winner of Wednesday's drawing has a year to claim the prize.
But what happens if the lucky ticket holder was unlucky enough to throw the ticket away?
"Two years ago we had a $3 million and a $6 million prize go unclaimed," Rayhill said. "We have an unclaimed prize fund and the money goes in there for a second-chance drawing."
In fact, the Murphysboro Huck's paid out a $175,000 prize from a second-chance drawing in May.
The store gets a bonus for selling Wednesday's winning lottery ticket, equivalent to 1 percent of the jackpot, or $50,000.
Rayhill said the lucky lottery winner can claim the prize by contacting her at (800) 252-1775 or (217) 524-5157.
Once the ticket is verified, the paperwork and tax forms are completed, it takes the Illinois comptroller's office 3-4 weeks to issue payment, Rayhill said.