In the words of Powerball lottery executive, David Barden, "It's going to be a very green spring for its first Powerball jackpot winner of 2019."
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On Wednesday night, a single ticket sold in Wisconsin matched all six numbers in Powerball's drawing of $768.4 million, the game's second biggest jackpot -- and the third largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
Strong ticket sales ballooned the jackpot to $768.4 million in the final hours leading up to the drawing. It was originally estimated to be the 4th largest jackpot on record.
While your odds of winning the grand prize were slim — with a one in 292,201,338 shot, here's some advice for the lucky Wisconsinite.
Jonathan Rikoon, a New-York based partner at Loeb & Loeb who specializes in trusts and estates, says the winner's first moves should be to stop, think and plan.
“Don’t tell anyone yet. That includes social media!” Rikoon stressed.
Contrary to popular belief, Rikoon says you don’t need to rush and collect the prize right away. You have plenty of time, but make sure the winning ticket is in a safe spot — like a bank safety deposit box.
“[Then] unlist your phone number, if you still have a landline. Take a leave of absence from your job so you can decide at more leisure about quitting, upgrading your career or spending some time without gainful employment,” he advised.
Rikoon adds that you shouldn’t burn any bridges since a life of leisure isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. In most cases, he says coming into money can be both a blessing and a curse.
Lastly, get referrals from professional advisors to help you plan on what to do with your money next. Here is a list of professionals you should pursue.
Tax experts can help discuss lump sum vs. installments, whether to pay state and local taxes before the end of the year and other considerations. Also, make sure you keep up with future tax and other obligations including payroll withholdings and insurance for your new staff if you decide to hire the pros to help handle your windfall.
Certified planners can help you project how much you want to be able to spend up front, annually and can assist with long-term planning.
Legal & philanthropic advisors:
Specialized lawyers can help address questions such as: How can you protect against the flood of requests you are sure to get for help and handouts (and “loans” that may never get repaid) from family, friends, co-workers, strangers and charities? Think about a professional philanthropy advisor, too, to make sure any charitable organizations are legitimate and that you get the right tax benefits.
Here’s the list of the largest lottery prizes in U.S. history — and the people who won them.
1. $1.586 billion Powerball
Date: January 2016
Marvin and Mae Acosta of Van. Nuys, California
John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee
David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith of Melbourne Beach, Florida
2. $1.537 billion Mega Millions
Date: October 2018
Winners: 1 [largest single-ticket win on record]
Location: Anonymous winner in Simpsonville, South Carolina
3. $768.4 million Powerball
Date: March 2019
A single ticket sold in Wisconsin matched all six numbers in Wednesday's night drawing. The winner has yet to come forward.
4. $758.7 million Powerball
Date: August 2017
Winner: Mavis L. Wanczyk of Chicopee, Massachusetts
5. $656 million Mega Millions
Date: March 2012
Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois
One anonymous winner in Kansas and three anonymous winners in Maryland, who referred to themselves as "The Three Amigos."
6. $648 million Mega Millions
Date: December 2013
Ira Currey of Stone Mountain, Georgia
Steve Tran of North California
7. $590.5 million Powerball
Date: May 2013
Winner: Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrills, Florida
8. $587.5 million Powerball
Date: November 2012
Cindy and Mark Hill of Camden Point, Missouri
Matthew Good of Foundation Hills, Arizona
9. $564 million Powerball
Date: February 2015
Marie Homles of Shallotte, North Carolina
Both the Puerto Rico and Texas winner have remained anonymous
10. $559.7 million Powerball
Date: January 2018
Location: Anonymous winner in New Hampshire