After no one won the most recent Powerball drawing, the jackpot has soared to $435 million. The next drawing is Saturday night.
For many people, the best part of playing the lottery is spending a few minutes imagining how you’d spend your windfall. If you really were to select the lucky numbers, however, there are plenty of pitfalls that could come between you and your newfound cash. Here are four steps to take right away:
1. Secure the ticket. Sign your winning ticket and put it in a safe place until you’re ready to come forward to claim the prize. Last year, a California man couldn’t claim a $1 million Prize because he had lost his ticket, even though lotto officials were able to verify that he’d purchased it.
2. Don’t make any big decisions. It’s important not to make any rash decisions. Put the money into a savings account or other safe, liquid investment while you consider your options.
3. Vet your team. There will be “experts” coming out of the woodwork to offer you advice. You’ll need good professional counsel, but you’ll need to make sure that the people you hire have experience working with high-net worth individuals, especially those who have recently come into money.
4. Prepare for a massive tax bill. One decision you can’t put off is sharing your bounty with Uncle Sam. Lottery site USAMega estimates that the winner will pay about $68 million in federal taxes on the $273 million lump-sum cash payout, in addition to hefty state tax bills in some states.