One challenge is figuring out exactly how to split the winnings. There are tax considerations, and some states have limits on how many checks they will cut. In that case, winners would end up turning to a more complex solution, such as forming a trust.
“Say there are 15 people who win a lot of money. Getting 15 people to agree on anything is difficult,” Kurland said. “And then if they each get their own attorney, you’ve got 15 attorneys who are supposed to agree.”
If you’ve already gone in on tickets or want to despite the potential pitfalls, at least make sure the pool’s coordinator documents the whole affair.
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“The person should give a copy of the tickets and a list of [participants] to everyone who’s in the pool,” Kurland said. This protects the people in the pool and the organizer.
“That way, if the person who’s in charge also bought a ticket on their own and it ends up winning, there’s a way to prove it wasn’t part of the pool,” Kurland said.
The simpler thing is to just buy tickets on your own.
The odds of nabbing the Mega Millions jackpot are about 1 in 259 million for a single ticket. Buying more than one — whether through an office pool or on your own — doesn’t increase your chances by much.
“You’re still talking about huge odds,” Kurland said.