So you think your Powerball ticket is the winner for the record setting $800 million Powerball? Here are some tips from experts Stephanie Gruenhagen and Howard Presant from Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP on steps to take to ensure you make the most of your post-Powerball life.
1. RIGHT NOW: Sign the back of your ticket and choose a secure place to keep it, like a safe or a fireproof box. Not under your mattress.
WHEN YOU WIN:
2. First things first, change your phone number and pay off your debts.
3. Don’t rush to claim it. While you are dreaming of what to do with your winnings, dream too of your new attorney, accountant and tax adviser. In most cases, taking the lump sum is going to be the best financial choice but each person’s situation is unique and you should consult and plan.
4. Hire an attorney. Your attorney can also act as your “bad guy” and be the person will field the calls and say NO to the moochers.
5. Don’t buy anything big for 6 months. Steer clear of the Bentley dealership, but feel free to swing by Tiffany’s or Gucci for that watch or purse you’ve been eyeing. Rent instead of buy in the Hamptons this summer.
6. Start thinking about your philanthropy and family, but don’t make any quick moves. Tell Red Cross and Uncle Frank you will call them back in 6 months. Money begets money. Quick gifting cash is the least effective way to help out family and friends and charities.
IF YOU ARE IN AN OFFICE POOL
1. RIGHT NOW: Choose a group “leader” you can trust. In New York, they will only dispense winnings to a group under “exceptional” circumstances and at the commission’s discretion. Choose your leader and have them sign the back of each ticket.
2. Photocopy all the tickets onto one sheet and list the purchasers. Give everyone in the pool copy of the sheet.
3. Put all the original tickets into a secure place.
4. WHEN YOU WIN: Immediately hire an attorney for the group to help with the distribution and be your gatekeeper.
Stephanie Gruenhagen is a corporate and tax attorney and Howard Presant is an estate and trusts planning attorney both with Davidoff Hutcher & Citron LLP. They have a combined 62 years’ experience in the field and have their fingers crossed for you.