I am daydreaming about what I will do with my Powerball winnings, but I will take a short pause to share with you what I have learned in the event that you or I should win the estimated 675 million dollar lottery!

  1. Sign the back of your ticket right away and put it in a safe place. You can now afford a safe deposit box, so don't hide it in your home or vehicle. Whomever signs it and provides picture I.D. claims the prize. Photocopy it front and back as well.
  2. Keep it to yourself! Resist the urge to shout it from the rooftops or tell all your family members, or share on social media. You will become the target of everyone from charities and friends who need money to crooks who will try to set you up for a lawsuit by slipping on your property.
  3. If the ticket was jointly purchased with co-workers, friends or family members, form a legal partnership rather than having the check written to one person.
  4. Lottery money may also be considered marital property acquired during marriage, especially if it was  bought with marital funds.
  5. Consider forming a blind trust with your attorney so that you can maintain your anonymity.
  6. Taxes will be an issue, prepare! Winnings are taxable income no matter how you collect it. There are a few tax advantages to holding your winnings in a trust, it minimizes tax on the estate and avoids probate of the lottery winnings upon the death of the winner.
  7. Make the recipients of your gifts sign confidentiality agreements. That includes not only charities but friends and family. This will keep your giving on the down low for at least five years.
  8. Consider not leaving your job right away, definitely not until you have finished the process of cashing in your ticket! Pay off every bit of debt that you have and think about your next move. Do you want to change careers or go to school? Finance classes will help you understand reports from your financial advisors. I'll be retiring and traveling!
  9. Be super smart and careful with your spending! There are so many stories out there of lottery winners losing it all in the first five years by taking their new entourages on expensive trips, buying cars that lose half their value once you drive them off the dealership grounds, houses with huge property taxes and upkeep bills and gambling trips.

What would you do with your winnings after paying off your debt? New house? Travel? Comment on our Fan Page or tweet #lotterywinner

OK, now we are prepared to win! Good luck!

Celeste