Local experts discuss best practices if you become lucky lottery winner

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A local financial advisor and an attorney have the same advice for jackpot winners

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

(WYTV) – The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are incredibly slim, but they’re not zero. So what happens if you are that lucky winner? How do you prepare for it? What should you do first?

Coming into $1 billion overnight is hard to fathom, but it’s going to happen to someone soon.

“You probably don’t want to have your name released,” said Chris Maruca, co-owner of Maruca Law Firm.

Keep it anonymous and for good reason.

“The long lost cousins come out and there’s gonna be these great business ideas and these loans and these investment schemes. You really need to put the breaks on that,” said Brian Laraway, an advisor at Bury Financial.

They said you’ll want to get a team together: a lawyer, financial planner and CPA.

“Most people, I don’t care what your educational background is, have never won the lottery. So whether you have a college degree, high school degree or PhD, that’s uncharted waters,” Maruca said.

After taxes, you’ll likely have about half of the winnings in the bank and right now, collecting the money in a lump sum is a good idea.

“The reason being is tax rates are historically low and you actually have that lump sum to start generating some rate of return for,” Laraway said.

But what if you did a pool for the ticket with a group of co-workers or friends?

“If you’re going to do some type of pool with multiple people, it’s best if you have some sort of signature in the beginning,” Maruca said.

“You guys as a group can kind of make decisions about how you’re gonna divvy up the money and then everyone can kinda go forth with their own financial decisions,” Laraway said.

No matter if you’re winning alone or not, you want to have a plan in place. Once you become wealthy, the goal is to stay there and the best way to do that is with a strategy.

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