A jackpot of $1.5 billion and climbing is up for grabs during Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing. It’s the largest amount in Powerball history, and more tickets are being sold by the minute.
But if you win, what next?
"People start thinking about 'If I really won, how would I deal with this?'" said Bill Ecker, a State Farm insurance agent in Marion, Illinois.
Ecker says he hears that question all the time. He says first, don’t post about it on social media. You don’t want the attention from strangers something like that can draw, he says. Then, move your ticket to a safe spot, like a safe deposit box in a bank or a fireproof, flood proof safe. Then, hire help.
"The best thing to do is assemble a good team of people. So, you're going to need a tax accountant, probably a tax lawyer, and a financial adviser. That's probably a good three to start with," Ecker said.
You can pick the lump sum of cash or the annuity payments, but either way put it in a bank.
Debbie Rosson at South Porte Bank in Marion says each person on the account is insured to $250,000, but there’s a way to cover it all.
"It all depends on how you structure your accounts. We could have a joint account for a husband and wife, and you're insured for $500,000," Rosson said.
From there, you can add more accounts and more beneficiaries until you’re insured for everything.
Experts say have fun with the cash, but be careful. Everyone is going to want a piece of that $1.5 billion pie.
Before you turn that winning ticket in, financial experts say to make sure you're doing what you can to protect yourself.
Financial experts say regardless of whether you take the annuity payments or the lump sum of cash, make sure you have the right people advising you on what to do with the winnings. The lump sum of cash is estimated to be paid out around $950 million.
The Powerball drawing will be held Wednesday night. You must have your ticket by 10 p.m.
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