Somebody simply received the $ 731.1 million Powerball jackpot. Keep away from errors

A customer purchases Powerball lottery tickets for a $ 700 million jackpot at a newsstand in New York City on August 23, 2017.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

A single Powerball ticket purchased in Maryland is valued at $ 731.1 million.

After growing for four months without a big winner, the grand prize – the sixth largest in the history of the lottery – was awarded on Wednesday evening. Still up for grabs is the Mega Millions jackpot, which has also been growing since September and is estimated at $ 970 million for the Friday evening drawing.

For the owner or owners of the winning Powerball ticket, life will change dramatically. While the gust of wind opens up a world of possibilities, it also means that you are leaving your life behind as a pre-winner.

“On the one hand, it’s a fantastic experience, but on the other, necessary changes can be made that can create fear,” said Walt Blenner, attorney and founder of the Blenner Law Group in Palm Harbor, Florida.

Here are some mistakes the winner should avoid.

Too many people tell

It’s a mistake to get the news out there, Blenner said.

“Keep it as nuclear as possible – just tell the immediate family,” he said.

Even then, he said, words could come out or people in your life could start putting two and two together.

“For these gigantic victories everyone is looking for who has won,” said Blenner.

Fortunately, Maryland is one of the few states where winners can remain anonymous. However, you may have to make some effort to keep the news around. That said, you need to make a statement if claiming the award or dealing with acute emotions means you can’t go to work or have social commitments.

“Lots of people don’t like to deceive others, but this case is about self-preservation and security,” said Blenner.

Hurry to claim the prize

In Maryland, you have approximately six months (182 days) to win your jackpot. In other states, it can take anywhere from three months to a year for jackpots to be won on Powerball and Mega Millions.

In other words, there is no need to rush to the lottery headquarters.

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And in general, it’s not that easy to get that much money into your checking account. When Blenner helped a jackpot winner, the financial institution received the money it needed to prepare.

“They had to tell the federal government that they were getting this big check and that it was not from a foreign country,” said Blenner.

Walk alone

Before making a claim, you should assemble a team of seasoned professionals: ideally a lawyer, accountant and financial advisor.

“When you get to these stratospheric amounts of money, you don’t even know what you don’t know,” said Blenner.

For example, there may be ways to minimize your tax burden. While 24% of large lottery winnings are withheld for federal taxes, the highest marginal rate of 37% means you’d owe a lot more. As a rule, state taxes must also be taken into account.

Someone on the team should also serve as the gatekeeper. That means they can answer queries from moochers or scammers or from anyone else who wants a piece of your windfall.

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